— Candy’s Stop, up Hwy. 52

I been ‘Candy’ since I came here young.

My born name keeps but I don’t say.

To her who my mama was I was
pure millstone, cumbrance.   Child ain’t but a towsack full of bane.

Well I lit out right quick.

Hitched, and so forth.   Legged it.
Was rid.

Accabee at first (then, thicket-hid) then Wadmalaw;
out to Nash’s meat-yard, Obie’s jook.   At
County Home they had this jazzhorn drumbeat
orphan-band ‘them lambs’ they — 

They let me bide and listen.

This gristly man he came he buttered me
then took me off (swore I was surely something) let me ride in back.

Some thing — 
(snared) (spat-on) Thing
being morelike moresoever what he meant.

No I’d never sound what brunts he called me what he done
had I a hundred mouths.

How his mouth.   Repeats
on me down the years.   Everlastingly
riveled-looking, like rotfruit.   Wasn’t it
runched up like a grub.

First chance I inched off (back through bindweed) I was gone.

Nothing wrong with gone as a place
for living.   Whereby a spore eats air when she has to;
where I’ve fairly much clung for peace.

Came the day I came here young
I mothed
my self.   I cleaved apart.

A soul can hide like moth on bark.
My born name keeps but I don’t say.
More Poems by Atsuro Riley