by Frances Brown
Some say when first sighted
she is walking across the moon,
all sharp edges and ink black.
Others swear that she comes
from some place south of Coffee Hollow;
that she was walking alright
but across the mountains,
taking tall peaks for stepping stones.
But I saw her that day
coming up the pike,
bare head to July sun,
bare feet to hot delta soil,
leading a pack-mule.
Late one evening
just before she steps off
into the woods, I hear her say:
"Something need be done
'bout the breeches,
butt-first babies grow up ass-backward
and die way too soon."
They say once she's in the woods
she flies up through the trees
and circles the valley on a stick,
pointing a crooked finger.
But I wait for her at the gap
every morning with my wheelbarrow.
I see those purple stains on her hands;
swamp bog on her feet,
eidetic image of leaf vein in her face,
and I say she's an ordinary woman --
indispensible to God.