Kathryn Stripling Byer

(1944 / Camilla, Georgia)

Kathryn Stripling Byer
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Kathryn Stripling Byer is the author of six books of poetry, including Descent (LSU Press, 2012) and Southern Fictions (Jacar Press, 2011). She has served as North Carolina's poet laureate. more »

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Best Poem of Kathryn Stripling Byer


This, he said, giving the hickory leaf
to me. Because I am poor.
And he lifted my hand to his lips,
kissed the fingers that might have worn
gold rings if he had inherited

bottomland, not this
impossible rock where the eagles soared
after the long rains were over. He stood
in the wet grass, his open hands empty,
his pockets turned inside out.

Queen of the Meadow, he teased me
and bowed like a gentleman.
I licked the diamonds off the green
tongue of the leaf, wanting only
that he fill his hands with my hair.

Read the full of Diamonds

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