Strong you were
who I never knew
killing chickens
canning for winter
raising haphazard grandchildren.

Brave you were
half white
whole person
smiling in the dusty yard
of a wooden shack
with no toilet.

Solid you are
 giving us hell
recounting old stories
before the divorces
before your sons died
before you were alone.

Independent you are
walking to church
going to meetings
sheltering all of us
when needed.

Invincible you are
putting food on the table
recovering from death
deciding to take
no more shit.

Tenacious we are
birthed from sturdy wombs
led by callused hands
fed guts in bottle and broth.

—Dana Apple, Centerview, MO


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