Every year for one summer week we fled city concrete,
our skinned and scarred bony legs climbing steel bus steps.
Our mother shaking her head at the zoomorphic use
of a racing dog she believed was grossly falsified, sighing:
Why they would put a fast dog on this slow-ass bus is beyond me!
The driver collecting tickets always shook his head back,
not for the misleading hound, but the long night ahead —
a sundown that commenced crying fights, the lap feast
of cold fried chicken and bread slices, head balancing acts
of sleep upright. All to get down home, a foothill
in the blue ridge mountains where we stepped off
into a morning and the arms of our grandmother
who’d say: My you’ve grown. How was the ride? Who’d boast
she rode the mule-pulled tractor to the schoolhouse in snow.
— Crystal Simone Smith
(From the book All the Songs We Sing, celebrating the 25th Anniversary of the Carolina African American Writers’ Collective published by the Blair/Carolina Wren Press.)