Vox Populi

A Public Sphere for Poetry, Politics, and Nature

Ann Fisher-Wirth: Mississippi Delta. Homecoming Parade


We’re hanging out in Greenwood

for the weekend, and while reading

in Turnrow Books I hear the bbbrrrrmmmm


of drums. It’s the Amanda Elzy High School

homecoming parade, 98%

African American, the bookstore owner


says, and he says the schools are so poor

they took their kids and moved to Grenada.

From the curb we watch the parade, my husband


and I—the sequined dancers twirling

lackadaisically, the bright gold tubas

and rows and rows of coordinated drums,


especially one chubby boy not in uniform

who hugs his drum like a bear and pounds it

so hard his whole body shakes. Miss Anatomy


and Physiology, Miss Life Skills,

Miss Business Sense, Miss Physical Processes,

and all the other girls including one


whose sign says First Alternate, ride

on the roofs of cars, legs stretched out or tucked

through sunroofs—they are dolled up in tiaras,


in ruffled chiffon or satin ballgowns,

and mostly they don’t acknowledge our presence,

but a few smile the beauty queen smile,


and wave the beauty queen wave. Little brothers

and sisters, shadowy in back seats,

press their faces against the windows.


Each girl has an escort beside her on the roof.

Most are cast in shadow by their resplendent

partners, but one guy dressed in white


from hat to suit to spotless shoes,

whose partner is a matronly girl in coral,

lounges diagonally across the hood


of a slowly growling Chevy, perfectly

motionless, claiming the day, cocked

on an elbow like the Sheik of Araby.

Copyright 2015 Ann Fisher-Wirth


Jackson State University’s “The Sonic Boom of the South” marches during the school’s homecoming parade. 
(Photo: Greg Jenson/The Clarion-Ledger)

2 comments on “Ann Fisher-Wirth: Mississippi Delta. Homecoming Parade

  1. Pingback: Ann Fisher-Wirth: Mississippi Delta. Homecoming Parade | cuprodotme

  2. Pingback: Ann Fisher-Wirth: Mississippi Delta. Homecoming Parade | arbima

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This entry was posted on December 10, 2015 by in Poetry, Social Justice and tagged .

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