The East Monbo Kids

Joyce Compton Brown

could crawl
all over the river rocks
while their mamas
worked as weavers
and spoolers while
their daddies slept
for third shift
in row houses
with fans running
to keep out the noise
and stir the heat
and the kids stayed
outside at the river
or in the cool red
clay under the tall
stilt houses and
they could run like
one big family and
if anybody wanted
a real Coca Cola
they’d walk right
in the mill where
cotton floated hazy
in the heatwave air
looms hummed
and clacked  their
mamas coughed
spit out the window
and told the kids to
get on out of there fast
as they ever could
and not come back

Joyce Compton Brown has published in several journals, including, Pine Mountain Sand and GravelKakalakWild Goose Poetry Review, and Ponder. She studied poetry at Hindman Institute  and Wildacres, and won the 2017  poetry competition. After teaching language and literature at Gardner-Webb University,  she now concentrates on poetry. Her chapbooks are Bequest (Finishing Line Press, 2015) and Singing with Jarred Edges (Main Street Rag Publishing, 2018), a finalist in the Cathy Smith Bowers Chapbook Contest.