hot combs catfish crumbs and bad men by Tara Stringfellow

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hot combs catfish crumbs and bad men

lent she’d send us out
come back with a basketful she’d call
my sister and i caught black tadpoles
with dark hands thrust into warm bogs
seeking, unafraid

my mother bent over cast iron skillet
read entrails in the hot oil
men will fail you more than the Lord
she swung a rosary over the stove
in a pendulum swinging north

my sister collected hair thick as a nest
from all the old combs in the house
buried it deep in red clay
daddy will come back she chanted

God can stay asleep
these women in my life are magic enuff

Originally appeared in Jet Fuel

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tmstringfellow (Tara Stringfellow) is a poet and an attorney living in Chicago, originally from Memphis, Tennessee and Okinawa, Japan. SThird World Press published her first collection of poetry entitled More than Dancing in 2008. Her poems have appeared, or are forthcoming, in Transitions Magazine, Apogee Journal, Linden Avenue Literary Journal, decomp: a literary magazine, Voice and Vision: An African American Literary Magazine, Prompt, and North by Northwestern. Currently, the author is an MFA Candidate for both poetry and prose at Northwestern University.

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