Black Soles on Jett

we used to knit
to keep warm in
Winter with
space heaters,

duct tape on felt
to cover the windows,
to keep infestation
and body heat all to

the rats leapt
through the basement
of dust &

through the closets
and the trash in the
kitchen they ran,

squeaked & lay,

biting mama one day,

with roaches inviting
themselves to every

stomping by the
hundreds when
Papa John visited
with round meals
that brought us
together on Fridays,

fried bologna,
eggs, skins,
Ms. Winner’s,

sopping pork chops
with syrup &
bread for dinner,

tuna casserole
in the stove,

everybody getting
seconds while the
roaches called

French toast in the morning
with mama before the
Sun came,

with the boombox
singing “shawty swing
my waaaaay.”

Grandaddy rode his
electric wheelchair
to Micky D’s
up the street,

called it his Cadillac

so that’s what came

from between our teeth,

twenty pieces for free
with a $1 tea,
flying down Ashby to
get home just to
dip it all
in the sauce,

fried green tomatoes,
occasional, cajun shrimp
from Kroger,

we ate & peeled
it, loving the
freshness &
taste of the sea,

remedies rubbed on
chests to get rid
of colds

with chicken soup
for the soul &
some orange juice
to burn the pain
in throats.

Winters filled with

cold & Black soles,

some heat blowing

but more wind flowing

from the outside,


yet breakfast time

always came even

though we had to

hide the cereal

from the roaches

in the fridge

in grocery bags,


there was always

laughter to move

past it,


until we realized

that it would start to crumble

right before our eyes,


those little Black soles

ran from a lot in that



always finding love

right under  the

pain that they felt.