Nostalgia

By  |  June 11, 2019
Photo by Thomas Hawk via Flickr Creative Commons Photo by Thomas Hawk via Flickr Creative Commons

An adult shad has 1,300 bones,
but that’s not why I always order it:
I remember fingers of white flesh, flaky-fried,
or a sac of red roe slapped into a pan
with a pat of butter,
and I think of camping by the James River,
how the sky yawned and hollered. 
I once loved a band named Emmet Swimming.
I got lost in a crowd of teenagers 
inscribing each other’s yearbooks in blue Bic ink,
working hard for a house with fake wood trim,
singing it’s a long way down,
singing it’s been a long time since I’ve been good.
We were sweat-sweet and dancing.
We paid what we could afford at the door.
Two decades later, I read they named themselves
for Emmett Till. 
The idea of the name was basically that 
a 14-year-old boy should be swimming in the river, 
not dying in it.
But they spelled his name wrong. 
They kept spelling his name wrong. 
Someone’s got to pick the pin bones out.
I’ve got 1,290 to go. 


Sandra Beasley reads “Nostalgia”

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Sandra Beasley is the author of three poetry collections, including Count the Waves, and the memoir Don’t Kill the Birthday Girl: Tales from an Allergic Life. She edited Vinegar and Char: Verse from the Southern Foodways Alliance. She lives in Washington, D.C., and teaches in the University of Tampa low-residency MFA program.