Herein, reliance—
of the brief account
of my Aunt Maggie,
star citizen of a hamlet in
Paris, Alabama, 1953.
She was the only white
in this rutted road life
baked six inches deep
in summer,
mud slop in winter.
When I met her,
the first and only time,
she was planted with
her 400 pounds in a
canvas director’s chair
in the front of her two-room
tar paper shack.
She had a laugh as
big as her bottom
and not an ounce
of self-consciousness.
The blacks saw her as
a favored neighbor,
brought her corn,
collard greens,
and chicken. In return
she crafted quilts for them
all year long—
bond of freedom.
That’s the story from here.   
She died at 82
with all that weight
and a dreadful diet.
I have only cartoon facts
about her, but a knowing
painting of exactly
the way she lived
holds her close
on my office wall.

–Allan Cox