L.u.a.n.n.. L.a.n.d.o.n

A New Woman in Town

One dinner party almost showed her out.
Surrounded by the town's cognate elite
she thought of words like "snarl" and "spit" and "snout."
Given a drawing room, she'd take a street.

(Tacky and cute, she came from "somewhere else."
She was an old man's darling, not his kin's.
Too fresh, she seemed to blare out decibels
of country rock that shook the porcelains.)

Drinking too much and feeling caught and caged,
she came on fast to one good-looking man.
His wife smiled sweetly down, serene, enraged,
ranked her with multitudes outside their clan.

Her husband passed away (and just in time),
left her the richest woman in the town.
Black-veiled, she was the funeral's paradigm.
The Altar Guild somewhat revised its frown.

She bought a May-green farm, a mile southeast,
stocked it with dogs and horses (thoroughbred),
decked out the house in plushy arriviste.
She ran a Bed and Breakfast, mainly Bed.

Years passed, and now her scandal has grown old.
People don't talk if nothing's left to say.
She's known to feed stray kittens when it's cold,
take dinner to the shut-ins Christmas Day.

She makes a genteel profit at her banks,
lends freely with no thought of sabotage,
sends, on the closing date, a note of thanks
and cheer to debtors in her entourage.

Her shoes are sensible, her hair is white.
Always her voice is Southern-lady low.
Lately, she's delicate and scared at night.
She has a yesing way of saying no.

At last she's got the substance and the style.
The town's still on its dignity, and yet
contrition's shadow underneath her smile
makes gentlefolks forgive, if not forget.

Men and Death

Men charge around on earth, in air,
smashing Death to smithereens,
and yet pretending It's not there,
sun-struck, forever in their teens.

Women, to propagate the race,
love foolish men (and so they must),
have mud more often in their face,
go down more easily to dust.


A native of the South, Luann Landon graduated from Radcliffe and lived for several years in France. She has published poetry in Cumberland Poetry Review, The Tennessee Quarterly, The Edge City Review, Dogwood, and Sewanee Theological Review, and has received several awards in The Robert Penn Warren Poetry Competition. Her memoir-cookbook, Dinner At Miss Lady's (Algonquin, 1999), is in its third printing. Earlier work in Mezzo Cammin: 2006.2


Maryann Corbett
Nausheen Eusuf
Anna Evans
Dolores Hayden
Luann Landon
Susan McLean
Annabelle Moseley
Alexandra Oliver
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Lauren Clay: Addressing feelings of lost cultural identity and sitelessness, this work investigates ideas of the self as discerned through the lense of place and site. The search is influenced by various mythologies of place, such as the inherited place, found through home and community; the internal place which exists in the psyche or imagination; and the discovered place, found through study or travel.
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