Child at Tobacco Market

by Charlotte Matthews

Nights I go looking
for the whippoorwill
but she’s not to be found,
spotted feathers restless
as the cursive letters
in my handwriting book.
I saw bank swallows
swoop into their burrow
along the marsh,
one brood, a clutch of five.
Today’s Saturday, and
my grandfather has woven
leaves into a hand,
wrapped the biggest
one to bind.
When the market bell rings
buyers scatter
the aisles inspecting,
smelling for mold,
one stops for a moment
under the light
that through the vented
roof hits a cluster:
restoring it to
what is has been,
what it will be—
dazzlingly on fire.

Recipient of The Fellowship of Southern Writers Award for Poetry, Charlotte Matthews is author of two full length collections: Still Enough to Be Dreaming and Green Stars. Most recently her work has received recognition from NPR where she was the featured poet. Matthews is a professor at Hollins University and the University of Virginia. Some Saturdays she brings her 1914 Smith Corona typewriter to The Farmer’s Markets and writes poems on the spot.