Hateful

my Granny said, her pleated
velvet cheeks aquiver
as we watched the battered
Fords and coal trucks

splatter gravel from the road
above the porch.
That’s one thing
I can’t abide.

I don’t remember
who it was or what he did
that made my Granny spit
his name like chaw

into her jar, but I remember still
the boy who shot into my mind—
my mother called him hateful, too,
the way he’d hold himself

up high and hard there
in his daddy’s store—
and how I wanted
what he had,

bone-weary as I was
of my own softness.

Pauletta Hansel is the author of six poetry collections, including Palindrome (Dos Madres Press, 2017), written in response to her mother’s dementia. Hansel is Cincinnati’s first Poet Laureate (2016-2018) and is co-editor of Pine Mountain Sand & Gravel, the literary publication of Southern Appalachian Writers Cooperative.

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