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.
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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.