Akin to a Rooster's Crow

by Bonnie Stanard

It was at ten p.m. on a squeaky bed
that Mama pushed me out
while Grandma helped as she could
as she had for every other baby born in our house.

I puckered, squealed, and opened my eyes
to the frame walls, plank floors
and rattling doors of the farmhouse I grew to love.

Strange, how I won favor over and above
my brothers and sisters because I was born
when a relative lived with us,
a man without a home
and too sick for the Army.
My first attempts at words whistled
through my teeth and so charmed him
he took me with him everywhere
except fishing until I was three
and he was as old as he was going to be.
As my uncle, he made me worthy for better,
but at night he heaved for breath
and even yet, his struggle for air
suffocates memories of him.

Barely before my mother could recover from birthing me
a baby girl was born, and several years later
though my father objected, another brother.

We played in the hay loft, pastures, and fields,
climbed Chinaberry trees, swam in the Edisto River
and stayed with Grandma in the summers
along with my cousins, all boys.

The rough and tumble of gangland relatives
taught me to run and hide when I could

and when I couldn’t to tell lies and fight dirty.

Bio: Bonnie Stanard has been writing and editing for 25 years. Her poems and short stories have been published in numerous journals such as The MacGuffin, Slipstream, Harpur Palate, and Kestrel. In the 80s while she lived in Brussels, Belgium she edited a magazine for English speakers. On returning to the States, she assisted/edited/published periodicals in Virginia and South Carolina. She lives in Columbia, South Carolina.


  1. "...as old as he was going to be." Wow. I love this stark imagery. A beautiful poem. Tom


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Belle Rêve Literary Journal is a southern literary experience. Our mission is to capture everything that makes the South and its residents unique through the best contemporary literature we can find. We publish new works weekly.