Leveler Poetry Journal
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I try to tell

my loved ones of the way it tastes:


harsh, first, and then, sometimes,


a sweetness


Water hiding


Cousin J’s feet

as he smiles like a

little prince.


Mama in the RV, watching us


out a plexiglass window. M and I


pretending to be mermaids.


This is how we learned

the value of long hair,


something to hide behind

when quiet


blooms into silence. Evenings are fish fry

dinners, whiskey hidden


in tabasco bottles while


no one says

what they really think. Instead,


we talk about the splendor

of nature. How beautiful the trees are,

someone says. How


peaceful the water. I remember it

sloshing in my mouth.


Cold teeth clack and I

try not to swallow

try not

to spit it out.

Meriwether Clarke