She used to tell me I was built like a brick shithouse.
The phrase came slowly out of her mouth, soaked in
a Southern drawl & often with a silly wink & a whistle;
her words were never to be taken as insult – not at all
like others who have mentioned the curves I’ve owned
since my mid-twenties left me in what womanhood
really looks like. She had warned me when I was young
that those who lack restraint may put eyes on me,
& I was to swat hands, slap jaws, or take a baseball bat
to the crotch of any of the eager-handed attempting
to touch without invitation. It was usually during
Sunday conversations, sweet tea & pot-pies in our laps,
that she would tell me about her exes & which ones
she regretted loaning any of her attention to. She would
advise me to take only what I want & not to care for
opinions of those who eyed me wrong. I give her credit
for the words across my shoulder; Maw-Maw held
no interest in tattoos, but taught me to respect what’s mine.
Rachel Nix is an editor at cahoodaloodaling, Hobo Camp Review and Screen Door Review. She also edited the international anthology America Is Not the World. Her own work has appeared in L’Éphémère Review, Rogue Agent, and Words Dance. She resides in Northwest Alabama, where pine trees outnumber people rather nicely, and can be followed at @rachelnix_poet on Twitter.