Taxonomy, Shaun Turner

My memaw was born in a community named Letterbox,
because, for a time, the residents took their mail
from wood or tin letterboxes they’d nailed to the trees.
There was a Letterbox School.
My memaw, for a time, learned her letters there.
Now, they call the community Parrot, like the bird.
In our neck of the Rockcastle, community names morph.

Eventually, my memaw married a boy from Ionia
(or was it Holt? or Mount Pleasant?), and then left Letterbox, KY
briefly, to Pensacola, where, before home called them back,
they walked the tumultuous beaches of the Gulf,
beaches whose names are unknown to me.

*

Shaun Turner is the author of chapbooks “The Lawless River: Stories” (Red Bird Chapbooks) and “Trying Not to Write Roadkill: Poems” (Ghost City Press). He serves as Fiction Editor for Stirring: A Literary Collection and co-editor at Fire Poetry Journal. His fiction, nonfiction, and poetry can be found in the Chattahoochee Review, Bayou Magazine, Appalachian Heritage, and Barely South, among others.

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