Mainland Baby Poem by Kelly Zion

Mainland Baby

I love to smell the snails
out by our little garden
and watch the raindrops settle
on the blackberries by the faucet.
Late in the summer
the sunflowers go to seed,
in the heart of the day
we toss the watermelon rinds,
summer is good,
sweet summertime.

The fireflies come out
to float on the breeze
the 'possums climb around
in the mulberry trees
as we hang upside down,
swinging in the wind,
watching the oak trees
and the squirrels go to bed
it smells like springtime
on the mainland.

The air smells like pine sap
right before a storm,
the cars drive on the freeway
in the coolness of the dark,
the U-haul is parked at a wayside rest
and I'm by the candy machine,
I sit on the little bench
counting my money,
we're moving again,
goodbye my sweet Kentucky.

The city lights shine all around
as I watch from the motel window
as the moon sinks behind a cloud
I think, 'I'm finally home.'
It doesn't matter where I am,
as long as there's that energy,
birds fly North and home again
and I just have to be free.
I'm glad this place is big enough
for a mainland baby.

The crickets sing us to sleep
outside the screen door.
I love to run through the hay fields
and play in the barn,
jump from bale to bale
as the sky goes orange,
play with the rabbits
and stroke my pet goat,
I'm just a mainland baby,
so far from home.

I'm sitting on the couch
with a bowl of Mama's chicken and rice,
it's the end of another day
and I just want to say goodnight,
maybe tomorrow we'll slide down the staircase
or play hide-and-seek in the dark.
Oh, I love the smell of the basement,
a hundred years old,
the old hearth smells like time,
that never grows old.

The train rushes down the track,
the airplane flies away,
are we ever coming back
to what we used to be?
I never grew up here, you did,
but oh, it's so beautiful!
I feel like I remember it
when the leaves start to fall
the lake looks so delicate,
the calm before the snow.

The fish jump by the boat
and turtles bask on the logs,
the walnuts smell like 'Toasted Oats'
and they brown you like the sun,
the ice around the thawing lake
smells like frozen persimmons,
the woodpeckers chip out their homes
and the cicadas are waking up,
we cast out a line,
all we can do is hope.

The ducks quack out on the lake
by the trailerhood,
I catch the dragonflies by their tails
to feed to my toad,
the summer flowers bloom every color
as they wave in the breeze,
I hear the song of a tractor
a couple fields away,
I know I belong here,
mainland baby.

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