Ms. Appalachia

By Rachel A. Hicks

I’m an Appalachian beauty queen,
a capable kitten with smooth birthing hips.
Applaud the cinema kitty cat caught in the smoke ring.

I rule over Kentucky junkyards, zoom in as I sit on refrigerator thrones,
play pianos by the highway, cigarette-thin fingers give a tinkle tankle of a tune
perking ears that belong to someone twenty years ago.
The honeysuckle sweetness of my fingertips, syrupy sweet on the dirt keys,
greasing up the notes, F, E, B & so on.

Underneath the toasters & the books from all those rummage sales
sits some hot ghost of a memory. Smitten kitten, the smell of trash
makes me think of our place & the breeze outside is the same one
I feel at night when trains go by.

Stack the broken binds of hymnals for a stage, wrap, rip, some leaves, some dirt,
pack, perch, pack it all in, real tight, until the only clumps to fall
from my deciduous crown are intentional. A tap dance for you, a finale
with hula-hooping hubcaps & juggling light bulbs. I sing in a rusty tune,
decaying notes in the keys of D, C, G & so on.

Rachel A. Hicks was a teacher and writer from Charleston, West Virginia. She earned her MFA in poetry from West Virginia Wesleyan. Her first collection, Appalachian Ghost Floating Down, Your Hall was published posthumously in June 2021. Her work has been published in Feminine Rising, The Pikeville Review and Still: The Journal.

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