Beside the Altamaha River
by Susan Beall Summers

My home is way down below
that Mason-Dixie Line
beside the Altamaha River
where time slows
under tall pines.
Air thick and sticky as molasses.
It’s a fishing, hunting, farming life
where folks know the art
of preserving summer harvests.
Bushels of peas shelled on porches,
corn shucked on tailgates.
Sand pears become preserves;
briar berries become cobbler, jelly,
and homemade wine.
Everywhere clouds of gnats,
relentless mosquitos,
and incessant cicada sounds.
Languid evenings,
long conversations
deepen into nights.
Owls demand answers,
crickets accompany
amphibian chorus,
a sweet lullaby.

NOTE FROM THE POET: My heart lives in Jeff Davis County, Georgia. I was born there; it lives in me. No matter how long I’m Texan or where else I live or how “citified” I become, that land is “home.” I cannot speak to any other place as where I live. I have a home near Austin, Texas, which I do love, but, in the bigger picture, it’s just a place I’m visiting. I may reside other places, I’m always a backwoods Georgia girl at heart. 

PHOTOGRAPH: “Eason’s Landing at Altamaha River, Jeff Davis County, Georgia, USA” by Mike “Bird” Strickland. Used by permission.

Summers bio photo

ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Susan Beall Summers has been writing poetry from a young age. Her first collection of poetry, Friends, Sins & Possibilities, was published in 2011 by DreamersThree Press. Currently, she is a video journalist for Texas Nafas on Channel Austin public access television. She is an active Austin poet, member of Austin Poets International, Austin Poetry Society, and Writer’s League of Texas. She is also a ghostwriter and editor. Her poems appear in Ilya’s Honey, Texas Poetry Calendar, Lifting the Sky: Southwestern Haiku and Haiga, Harbinger Asylum, Baylor’s Beall House of Poetry, Small Canyons Anthology, Austin Poet International’s Di-Verse-City, and others. Visit her at www.tidalpoolpoet.com.