Sweetgrass Baskets Come back home.
Sweetgrass Baskets Come back home Mrs. Rosalee lives a long lineage of African artistry along the shimmering coastline of South Carolina aqua-blue Atlantic waves splash a monotonous refrain; her smooth dark hands break bulrush and crop sweetgrass like a well-oiled machine like the lapping vibration essence, she endures slowly drifting she is white foam breaking against shifting sandy shores of Mt. Pleasant where she was born half a century ago. Mrs. Rosalee's mama, seagrass basket weaver sewed complex palmetto leaf patterns her father and MaRose before her shared mixed variations coiling rhythms of Sierra Leone passed down through metal stitching tools called bones nimble fingers plucked bones twirling through blades of grass fashioning baskets for roadside stands: for the wheat and potatoes for crawfish and tomatoes for the corn and cotton each ancestor, in passing, bequeathed weaving tools: flattened nails or silver spoon handles worn smooth by long hours. Mrs. Rosalee talks to her grandchildren about the old days when they keep still they sew with tinted green or beige strands pinched and pulled between brown fingers plucking silver handles weaving empty flower pots and place mats, mixing in long leaf pine needles slithers of green upon brown strands, strips symmetrically coiled into identical braids; fanner baskets for the rice so when children are grown they'll understand and without pause winnow the chaff. In the 30s, a white man propelled Highway 17 sales North Charleston with roadside basket stands... Now they say "De Internet is de hot ticket! sweetgrass done gone international, Gullah too, you know, sailed from West Africa then back home again on the world market at prices you wouldn't believe." "Shut yo' mouf!"
Felton Eaddy, author of Bending Over To Pick Up a Snake, is a poet, vocalist, literary artist and an instructor at Clark Atlanta University in Atlanta. He earned a M.A. in creative writing at Johns Hopkins University.