Friday, March 1, 2013

Bumpy road


Years now but I can still see him albeit
through milky glass shedding gluey sheets
of rain, the flimsy carton of Papa Wear

pressed neatly along the folds into a caned
chair on a low porch, grape arbor screening
a setting sun, harboring bees, their legs

bristling nuggets of pollen.  Amazing
creatures, finding me fifty years on
brushing off the golden grains I read

as honeyed fiction.  Shy of one hundred
knobby skull a china cabinet 
draped beneath a threadbare sheet

hands like the roots of a bristle cone pine
gripping slick mossy limestone, his clear
eyes pierced me like Cold Harbor Miniѐ balls.

It returns to me as novella
set on a particular afternoon
a dozen men in work pants drawling

vowels around unfiltered Camels
aboard a flatbed trailer hitched to a Deere
creeping up the switchback road to the top

of Wear’s Mountain.  Four different versions
of the same man ferried up for a looksee
my legs dangling off the back like my father’s

his father shadowed by the brim of his
CCC pith helmet and Papa Wear
firing round after round from a service

revolver aimed at the noonday sun. 
I waited for the bullets to rain down
and later, in the cool of the grape arbor

he ran his fingers lightly over my
quilted skull, making grand predictions
in the quiet presence of knowing bees. 

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