Tube Rose

R. T. Smith

In spats and monocle Mr. Goober danced
across the blue tin of a Planter’s peanut can.
Aunt Emma’s rocker kept a cradle’s cadence
while the radio evangelist ranted,“Repent your sins or pay the fiery price.”
This was rural Georgia, the Fifties, a “swine
farm” with acres of snakes and corn.
Her voice would waver: “Silver pins and goldenneedles will not mend this heart of mine.”
She’d spit a golden ambeer into the cess
of her silver-rimmed can and never missed
while Ike was in the White House.Snuff was cheap,“safe,” but the top hat and cane
of the jigging peanut man said “undertaker”
to any Spaulding County child. “The Rapture
is close at hand,” the media preacher crooned.“If your snuff’s too strong it’s wrong,
get Tube Rose, mild Tube Rose,“Aunt Em cooed
to mourning birds courting beyond her song.
A dew of filthy honey on her lip eclipsedthe waning moon. Was such a habit a sin?
She spat and laughed and spoke again
like a devotee of fireflies and summer
love with her lonesome voice that nevermade any bashful suitor dance or
lured from cover a single country dove.

Feature Date


Selected By

Share This Poem

Share on facebook
Share on twitter
Share on email

Print This Poem

Share on print

R. T. Smith is the author of fourteen books of poetry; his most recent ones are In the Night Orchard: New and Selected Poems and Summoning Shades.

Five Points

Vol. 18, No. 2

Atlanta, Georgia

Georgia State University

Editors: David Bottoms and Megan Sexton
Poetry Consultant: Edward Hirsch
Fiction Consultant: Richard Bausch

==Since the publication of its inaugural issue in 1996, Five Points has become one of this country’s best literary magazines. Published three times a year by Georgia State University’s Department of English and Creative Writing Program, each issue

Poetry Daily Depends on You

With your support, we make reading the best contemporary poetry a treasured daily experience. Consider a contribution today.