I fell in love somewhere between the dark legs and thighs.

Mama insisted I wasn’t old enough for the breasts.                         Never have I seen the lot bare.

Even after hours, felines and fiends alike fight for haven

                Underneath the bright orange awning

Every Sunday after church   the caravan            wrapped around the shack                  and spilled           

into the street                       to pay respects to the bird slain that we might eat.

Nobody wanted to wait.

Nobody was going to leave.


Gospel and Tupac hymns.                  Rattling tin cars and fryer baskets.     Orders hollered from car windows.

Responses always a bit too loud.       Family reunions at the walkup window.

Mothers reminded how much their babies have grown.

Fathers made aware of how they spit Junior out.

Breaded and fried with just enough spice.

Sugary sweet red pop with just enough ice.

Sides – common like us – complement just right.          A pepper.              Hot.

It burned.               We watched amazed.           Charred fixtures carried out as if they meant nothing.

Daily we drove by.              Barricaded by orange cones.               Just like the awning.            That once welcomed us.        Days passed.         Weeks.


Grease billows.                    All of Cedar Grove smelled its beckoning.      We’re coming.

Southern Classic.