The living rooms in my family all look
the same. Ten point bucks in leisure suits,
puffing their pipes in easy chairs.
Victrolas whine old Opry songs.
Candelabras thick with tarnish and soot
from last Christmas sit cold and hungry. 
We make tradition of dead and dying things.
Deer stands and camouflage. Bass boats
and Baptist churches.
At the center, my grandfather.
Twelve years removed from a heart attack
that would kill an ordinary man. New hip,
five teeth, lungs full of lime dust. Clock tower
to this city, every building a history of his resolve. 
Grandmother tells the story of the move East
again. Car so small she and three sisters
had to ride in the boot. 
Her body is heavy with wolves. This will be
her last winter. She traces our name past
the Trail of Tears, past Revolutionary War,
past the home we sold to Shakespeare 
before we were us, before he was—
Grandfather is not done building
this story. Grandmother is still
writing this city.

Ronnie Stephens

1 Comment

  1. Much enjoyed this poem, bravo!

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