Atlanta Aphrodite

She puts honey in her hair like it’s her wedding day
for the bees, for the boys, for her father
all golden and dripping, champagne-sweet
lightningbug lady and queen of June.

They call her Dainty Feet, Sweetheart of Main Street
she likes to dance on the village green in choir circles
singing “I’m holy, I’m heavenly, I’m His.” All the men
watch as her ankles move like wind-ripple water.

She ain’t dancing for them, though, she dances for more
than Man can touch, higher places, where the redhawk soars
for she is tall as mountains, summer goddess, Elphame Queen.
They ran out of names to call her after a while.

In fever-sweet dreams the boys pray to her, play with her
they can never remember the color of her eyes –
if they’re blue, hazel, green, or teddy bear brown
but they’re shimmering as Kentucky whiskey, skipping sun.

The truth is she came to us long ago on moonbeam magic
and the gods will take her away just the same, all flickering light
bloom of honeysuckle and baby’s breath, timbrel of angel choir
the Southern Belle tolls, crows fly, the boys remember.


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