Luann Landon’s first book of poems, South Bound, is a collection of verse narratives about the American South. Earlier poems have appeared in Measure, Sewanee Theological Review, Cumberland Poetry Review, The Tennessee Quarterly, and others. Her memoir-cookbook, Dinner at Miss Lady’s, was published by Algonquin in 1999. A Nashville native, Landon now lives in Sewanee.
Ma Bits was from the country, she was “rough.”
Her sons hoped company would make her fine.
But Ma Bits chewed so loud and talked so tough
the ladies fenced her off and held the line.
One resident, a lady pert and wise,
showed everyone (grande dame and maitre d’)
some country folks are qualified to rise—
Ma Bits’ good heart would be her pedigree.
Sincere and warm was Ma Bits’ gratitude:
“It’s only you don’t treat me like a dog.
I ain’t so stupid—I know ‘nice’ from ‘rude.’
I love fine folks, I love fine folks whole hog.”
Time passed. The ladies still eschewed a sinner
but one by one invited her to dinner.