Henry County, Ala. @ 1937


My grandfather spent his life

breathing the dust

of Alabama farmland.

He walked and walked behind

plows and cows and sows,

down rows he carved from red clay

until his shoes were worn

thin as the last dime

in his twice-mended pocket.


In the shade of pines,

he ate his mid-day meal

from tin pails scrubbed clean

of their syrupy sweetness

(cold biscuits and meat

meant to tide a man over)

and returned to

rows and rows and rows

of cotton and corn —

never losing heart, nor sight of row’s end.


Between the years of handsome harvest,

he cursed both drought and flood.

Stood among crops

crackled and crisp

or ravished by rivers of mud.


In the end,

blood begat bounty,

and he died blessed –

without regret or shame.


Of his industry,

no rows remain —

only crop upon crop

of weeds and wiregrass

unkempt and untamed.




Copyright © 2006 by Kat Kennedy

All rights reserved.

Honorable Mention, 2011 Mississippi Poetry Society Literary Competition

First published in The Magnolia Quarterly, Fall 2012


Morning Waltz

The dance begins.

The woman moves slowly —

sallow and swollen,

dismal and drowning

from within.


Weighty as wet clay

from the briary banks of this river —

cold Chattahoochee,

she trods and plods

through humid haze.


Gnats cling to her

like barnacles to a dead pier.

She wipes them away,

making room for these others here.


Swarms of them, unwelcome mourners,

join the procession

buzzing their bugles around her head

as she heaves and hefts her way

through one more morning,

dirge of one more day.



Copyright © 2011 by Kat Kennedy

All rights reserved.

Third Place winner in Gulf Coast Writers Association 2011


Things Left Undone


I never finish anything.


All around me lie

bits and pieces,

bits and pieces.

this and that.


Life seems splintered –


drawn and quartered –



Even you, little one,

creation mine,

will fall by the wayside.


Simile and metaphor

amble astray.


Adjectives dangle

from thin-wired construction –

to and fro.


Kat Kennedy


copyright 2006 © Kat Kennedy

first published in The Sampler Fall 2006

by Alabama State Poetry Society