The Student Newspaper of Mississippi State University

The Reflector

The Student Newspaper of Mississippi State University

The Reflector

The Student Newspaper of Mississippi State University

The Reflector

She teaches me

as each morning breeze cuts the humidity

that has already settled into the cotton of my shirt,

that life can be heavy.

She guides my feet over potholes and cracks in the sidewalk

where I see broken pieces of my best efforts and yet, She teaches me 

to see the sunset and the mother who walks past my house with her children 

without fear that the pavement will crumble beneath her.

They move lazily, and from the seat of her stroller a girl learns the same as me. 

I can see that She’s grown weary from the red-tinged highway,

and weary of the splintered, darkened houses that no one calls home.

And I drive past buildings, run-down and locked, 

and businesses with signs in their windows that beg the question, what’s next? 

And She teaches me that I, too, can begin again. 

She teaches me about Jesus when I see children in the pews on Sunday. 

The boy behind me sings the chorus, eyes bright and voice strong.

His mother smiles patiently and watches him wail each verse,

but the sweet drawl on his “Alleluia” drowns out my foolish doubts.

In books She appeared prideful and unkind

when I read of blood-stained fields and turmoil in Her violent past

But She had to learn about humility before She could teach me 

that I can be both strong and broken, beautiful and ugly.

It was from Her I learned to fall in love.

And She teaches me now that heartbreak comes slow, 

like so many things here, like the way that Her summer stretches on 

until the trees finally release their leaves and 

find relief from the stifling heat in the light autumn air.

And when I’ve been desperate and teary-eyed, 

smoking cigarettes on my tired porch swing,

She steadies my shaking hands with her landscape.

I once called it “flat.”

She opens doors to homes where mothers and fathers have never left each other 

or Mississippi,

and I don’t resent them because I know the way that they feel 

when she teaches them as each morning breeze blows air through their lungs

that they are Hers, although She may not be theirs. 

She is not mine. 

But I belong to Her when I hear crickets and plucked guitars, 

and when I laugh and I marvel at the barn behind my house 

that She has sustained for so long.

Within its wood and weathered white paint, beyond creaky, rusted doors

lives the story of a woman who has never left Mississippi. 

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The Student Newspaper of Mississippi State University
She teaches me