It rolled in gently at dawn
like the fog in from the Gulf, and
Came up the drive, skipping with the
dogwood blossoms blown by
the mornin’ breeze.
It climbed the stairs
and crept slowly across the veranda,
moving each step carefully,
in the manner of an old, gray woman
on the steps of the Second Baptist Church.
It knocked on the oak door with the morning sun,
Softly at first, then louder.
When I did not answer,
it crept under the door,
mixing with the scent of the magnolias,
And wandered around my house,
Here and there, touching dusty picture frames
and faded souvenirs from fairs and carnivals.
I found fingerprints as proof.
It stopped in the kitchen and,
peaking inside a simmering pot,
added spices at will.
It headed upstairs, running its fingertips
along the smooth, twisting banister.
The house quivered with the tickle.
When it came to my room,
it did not knock, but, ever so quietly,
slid through the door and across the floor.
And sat in my royal-pink brushed-velvet wing-backed chair,
When I did not wake,
it crept into my bed.
Laying like spoons, we slept through the morning
and just before midday
I woke up southern.
~ Elizabeth “Missy” Ragona
May 19, 1994