Exiting the Airport in Mobile

The bath water air
Relaxing and oppressive
Hits me like chicken broth as the automatic doors slide open
It sidles up to me, forces me to drink tea, and curls my hair

Both home and not-home
A place I am both of and beyond
This humidity is in my genealogy
My ancestors sweltered here
And oppressed others here
And struggled here

What here is worth redemption?
There is much to be saved
But my bitterness obscures that admittance
My connection to this place is real
And yet
Resented

Can I blow a sweet Gulf breeze through this stagnant air?

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About the Author

Jessica Neno Cloud was born and raised in Mobile, AL and now resides in Hattiesburg, MS with her husband Daniel and her two children. She earned her M.A. in English literature at The University of Southern Mississippi. Her poetry can be found online in the TEJASCOVIDO project and the online journal Former People. In print her poem “After the Bath” appeared in Constellations magazine in 2019 and the poem “Stockpile the Sun” was published in the Langdon Review: TEJASCOVIDO in 2020.