10 Portraits of Colonel Sanders (Kentucky)
My uncle with mechanic’s hands
on my knee, say,
“Brown sugar, where’s yo’ Momma?”
Has a kiss soft like an old blush,
has a kiss like cloudy moonshine,
in the back of his new silverado.
Wonder if Momma ever thought
of Daddy like this, well Daddy, just
about as red and raw.
Laugh’s like he is coughing up
feathers. Scheming. Mandolin and
tatters. White on white on black tie-
It is five o’clock Mr. Sanders,
Is my grandma in the back?
Is she done yet?
This commercial is racist
One little…two little…
three little…fill in the blank with
blanks, you know the rest
Maybe Mr. Sanders is an
Alexander Dumas case and the
chicken is his way of coming home
My father’s father is asking me
if I speak that stuff Haitians speak,
I say, “Yes.” He says, “I still love you.”
He says he’s back – sings it but,
Isn’t that a bit morbid? The man’s dead.
You can’t stop Massa from beating a dead horse.
Jessica Lanay currently lives in Bronx, NY and works at a magazine for writers in Manhattan. She moved to the city from Macon, Georgia and was raised in different places throughout the South. Themes that trickle through her poetry and short stories are female protagonists, internal migrations, the investigation of violence, disappearance (of landscape or persons), and magic realism. Her poetry and short fiction can be found in Blackberry: a magazine, Linden Avene Literary Journal, and Duende. Jessica Lanay also has more work forthcoming in Kweli Journal, Sugar House Review, Minerva Rising and As/Us. She is the founder of Jasper Collective, an editorial group comprised of women.