The Montrose House, Mississippi: the Yankees begin
their nasal exclamations of disbelief, wearing the
worn wood and rugs with muddy sandals.I descend, herding the tourists —
a grandfather with a drawl calls me sweetheart,
asking for another pamphlet.
Pacified, he joins his wife in
making room for me to pass, hoop and skirt and all —
we move deeper into the house, admiring relics
like the yellow-lace curtains, or the time-flattened
quilts. Brushes that retain someone’s hair,
and dishes — all look refined, forgotten.
How odd, that I should rustle
my skirts and lead strangers through an old house,
just a brick and oak structure
that is attractive only because
it hasn’t fallen yet, because it was not
burned or marred by grey coats or blue hats —
I don’t falter as I tell
facts mixed with stories. I’ve memorized
the notecards, I look them in the eyes
because I want them — the strangers
come to visit — to remember all this
lace and silk, the Old Dead South.
Mary Rachel Morris is an English major/Creative Writing minor living on the picturesque Belhaven University campus of Jackson, Mississippi. She hates runny noses but thinks mascara is a pretty neat invention.More >