"Sweet Home" - Hayden Muhs


I imagine her a Southern belle in white lace out on the docks of an Antebellum bayou some humid summer evening.

Her red purse and blue eyes are a sticking out like a prairie dog! She has a parasol she uses for the rain they never get and a pair of gloves for the work she never does.

She’s sitting at a cast-ironed patio table making fanning away mosquito’s look like a Geisha waving from a swan boat. ‘Course I hear insects prefer a rhino’s back. Her father’s steam engine billows behind the willows and the banjos tune a safe distance away from her deep in the swampland. People only want ta see the monster if he’s in a cage.

She curtsey’s at the waiter for an iced tea with a ‘lemon’s squeeze … purdy please!’

The river-boat’s whistlin’ in the twilight round the jessy, she can see them gamblin’ lights a mile away!

Jim Bean and Mr. Jack Daniels have her all hot and bothered with their compliments and gentlemenness. Feelin’ that ‘Prohibitions-over-tipsy!’

Seems like every pretty penny Jeffery’s tryna be the next Great Gatsby, but that don’t bother her too much. Moonshines like porcelain platter.

The plantation’s grown over – but Hell, take even a hurricane to a dandelion and it’ll be back in the same fashion if you’d just blown it.

Oh! And my lord; they’ve got locks on doors now, and fences ‘round whole entire properties! Can you fancy the thought of that!? Guess if you can’t chain a nigger up no more you’ve gotta chain yourself up.

I imagine she caught a lot of fireflies as a kid, guess that’s why there’s not a whole lot left on the waterfront.

Wonder how many of ‘em stills got the fire left in ‘em. Her halo looks crooked; one horn must be shorter than the other.

The gators snapping ‘neath the lily pads like a fur trapper.

Frogs dissecting themselves on the muddy brink.

The boys still at war’s what the paper’s saying but she hasn’t missed them all too badly. Everything seems all Hunkey Dorey.

She’s admiring the sunset behind an old wooden Civil War bridge. Back turned to supper bells and the family she don’t bother with too often. ‘An eyesore to an otherwise perfect picture!”

Only one she can stand’s Uncle Samuel and he’s been big game hunting over in the African savannahs and other places on earth of such treachery for lord knows how long! Whole lotta shooting but not a whole lotta trophies.

Stars startin’ to come out in the last blue of the sky and red of the sun.

She leaves her tea half sipped on the tabletop.

She decides she better get ta bed before it all turns black.


Hayden is a freshman at UW Madison; declared political science, but still undecided. She is also a First Wave, full-ride scholar at UW Madison as a hip hop artist and poet. She’s been writing poetry since the 4th grade and is currently working on my first novel, as well as several other bodies of work.