ain’t the way home


unurged to leap / like an old dog settled into worn hips // the drawl slips

briefly / before learning it ain’t got a thing to unlearn / sing instead /

the old songs childhood brought // the lessons taught / on maw-maw’s

porch or in her truck // in that red bed of pickup / ducking from pine limbs /

getting whopped by their cones / cold drinks / sipping // the humid wind

whipping / tangled hair / momma’d have to try to wiggle a comb through //
back then true stories were passed on / twanged or not no one hollered

// no one seemed bothered enough / to tell us to pull it back // stiffen

the flow / scrap the vowels that’d crawl loose / the drawl nudging us /

leading us on / judge me / I’ll not lose the language I’ve gotten so lost in

/ the language I found myself in // Alabama has often lent me shame /

but how dare anyone make the claim / our language is lacking / or ain’t

kin to theirs // why would anyone have no want / or not believe in the

wander to wade in / the shallow creeks / the ones our tongues are taught 

by // mouths trained to fib in diction / ain’t nothing but a lie to our rivers

/ to the waters that’ve delivered us // kept our knees clean // I pity any

who suggest a twang ain’t a lean in a word’s bridge / ain’t the best way home

Of Them


When my father was at work, Momma would bring Bandit in to nap
with us kids. She tried not to ruin him for us but worried, always
sure to tell us not to let on the dog had been let in.


I keep remembering those hunting dogs he kept in a crowded pen—
the ones he’d forget needed food or water, the ones my Momma
would then take pity upon and care for. Never knew


names but why would I? Part of them wouldn’t last past throwing
their bodies over the fence they climbed—loosely collared,
catching the emblems of ownership on the fence tops


stealing both breath and escape, before my Momma would find
flea’d bodies hanging. I hear he breeds now, the high-dollar
dogs, those collared by prices. Little changes past


original scheme: the want for glory, the only thing really hunted,
the thing that comes and goes, always eaten up while good
intent is no more than fatty scraps thrown to strays.


Becoming more used to how men like him do, my sister and I aged
into watching. From the living room window, she witnessed
as our father and his like-him friend were hollering


and going on, throwing rocks at our Maggie—from the front door
my sister shot out, kneeling to grab at gravel as she got near,
slinging hard as she could at the men and the trucks


they leaned against, getting herself cussed at while she cussed back
getting our dog free. Teen-aged, I’d wait for him to get home
angry at everything he thought I was thinking, ready


to hush it all; Dylan would near enough piss himself positioning
himself between us, remaining as long as needed. My father
never dared to hit me but took it upon himself to


try and break me all the same. But Momma, never one to allow
hurt to happen, taught us to let dogs teach us—of them
I learned: dogs may not want to bite, but we will.

Banks of Lakemont - Rachel Misenar

Rachel Misenar is a painter whose work is deeply inspired by the natural world. Relying on organic lines and vibrant colors, her paintings abstractly imagine the world and its ecosystems, from bodies of water to fields of clover. From a young age, her father taught her appreciation for art, bringing her to New Orleans and Magazine street, exposing her to some of the great modern artists. She has earned numerous awards and honors, including the MS Bi-State Art Exhibit in both 2007 and 2009, Portico Magazine Top 10 Emerging Artists in 2009, Bright Lights Belhaven Nights Mural Designer and Featured Artist in 2013, as well as the Habitat for Humanity Featured Artist in 2018.

Rachel Nix is the Poetry Editor for cahoodaloodaling and Screen Door Review, and an Associate Editor for Hobo Camp Review. Her work can be found at Barren, Pidgeonholes, and Up the Staircase Quarterly, among other venues. She resides in the woods of Northwest Alabama, where pine trees outnumber republicans rather nicely, and can be followed at @rachelnix_poet on Twitter.

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