Photography © Glenn Bowie


A Joanna Welcome

A trio of crows sat on a fence.
Nellie, sister-in-law and sister.
Butts abutted facing the front door
Three dining chairs were their battlements.

Nellie was designated archer.
A week of days in the cotton mill
kept wind and sun from coloring skin.
Hard lives dulled minds and manners as well.

This was South, by God, Carolina,
Would we trade smiles and our Christian names?
(Southerners do not fear politesse.)
No, this trio did not want small talk.

1) What denomination are you?
My mother-charming reply was wrong.
I guessed Methodist was close enough.
Sudden shot 2) Southern or Wesley?

I failed again. Not even Baptist.
I was high church, with bishops and all.
Nellie could smell hell and smacked her lips.
“They’re nice too,” she said insincerely,

I failed the Court of Beau Approval.
Damnation not hanging was my fate.
The daughter and niece bore her pagan.
Surely she would slough me off and soon.

Months later, death’s sick humor called me.
I stood as family at the wake.
I joined Widow Nellie in the line.
Strangers told me how sorry they were.


Mike Ball: “My pied past includes extended time in OK, WV, Japan, SC, and NJ. I watched and experience.”

Glenn Bowie is a published poet, lyricist and photographer from the Boston area. He also owns and operates an elevator company that supplies custom-built elevators for clients from New England to Hollywood. Author of two poetry and photograph collections (Under the Weight of Whispers and Into the Thorns and Honey) on Big Table Publishing, he donates all profits from his books to various charities for the homeless and local animal shelters.