Tuesday, April 24, 2012

23 of 30 Elegy for Steve Gurney

My first grief, 1981
Our yards divided by a concord grapes
on rusting fencing, a strawberry patch
you, 71 then, teller of lies
gifting me with arrowheads
chipped from broken coffee mugs
pulled from the burning trash
"ancient artifacts" you said
with the mug handle still attached

Your pond, stocked with catfish
with overgrown goldfish,
bullfrogs and water walkers
your boys hunting squirrels on our acre
the smell of the squirrel brains frying with eggs
hominy grits and black coffee

Your house, all meager screen
and cookpots catching the rain
and you, all hillbilly gristle
a scarecrow, a possum, your wife a white ghost,
telling lies about angels with books
at the foot of your bed, about
your heart stopping on an operating table
the light that pulled you out of yourself
and spat you back like a fish bone
a dip of snuff spat in a radiator

You tranplants, on the wild road
where they scratched the addresses
on the mailbox with pocket knives
where they burned crosses
on front lawns,
gravel line between two counties

Your old hound chasing turtles
howling at the moon
the white scar over your heart
you showed me, solemn

When you died, I wept
your sons filled the pond
with rusting wachine machines
and scrap, mosquitos in the stagnant water
the grass grown tall
the birds had all the grapes

1 comment:

  1. a dip of snuff spat in a radiator...


    don't care to say why that speaks to me, but it really, really does