CRAW-DADDY by Rebecca Anne Renner


Think of killing as only making ghosts.
That swamp you called your Mama
reeks of pigs now. The runoff turns
the magma an unearthly shade of brown.

We celebrated Dia de los Muertos
early that year. The sugar skulls
and flores were hand-molded,
hand-carved, hand-picked,
and by your daughters’ hands.
Those hands that in that winter
seemed so small. But that was
1966, when we were children
and you took us by the hand
where the avenue flew over the río
on concrete wings, and said:
This is our country! And wept.

That swamp you called your Mama
cracked up in ’75, barren
as a salt mine, with no intention
of changing. They shipped
in square buildings on trains
for the wind to toss around
in August. The wind doesn’t think
of killing at all. It snaps the necks
of trees, saplings and grandfather
oaks alike. So you sawed off all
the limbs of what became a glorified
stump in the side yard: 20 feet tall,
a vulture of an oaken chimney.

What I never told you was
when the storms were rolling in,
I’d climb up top like a Hindu prince
on the back of an elephant
and wish for the lightning to come.

Those four seconds
of being a ghost
weren’t what I expected.


Rebecca Anne Renner was born and raised in the Sunshine State, where she currently lives and goes to school at Stetson University. While not writing questionable poetry or trying to finish her third novel, she volunteers at a wildlife rehabilitation center. Her work has appeared in Pedestal Magazine and Mothering Magazine among others. She is the editor of Barrier Islands Review.

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