Going back,
Duluth’s dull skyline
draws out of view;
I follow other nomads,
trailing patterns but not
as the crow flies-
roads loom up, rushes of recollect
pocked and scarred as the blacktop.

Remember in seventy-three
how we came this way,
racing a phone call, retreads flapping
on your piece-of-shit Nova;
Sissy picked us up
at that one-pump station
broke-down and busted a day short
of Birmingham and remember
how she cried when she saw us-
then drove every mile back,
mute as the familiar ghosts slapping
our staring faces through the windshield.

Can you see us,
standing scrubbed and shiny-necked,
pulling at our clip-on ties
beneath the arc of an elm;
that one whose trunk sissy painted white
the year the termites swarmed-

remember how we spent whole days
scraping dirt hard-packed around its roots,
squatting until our knees grew numb,
digging holes to China
we would never finish
but somebody did-

dug a cavity
while we were forgetting;
scooped petrified earth without
bending the spoon and remember
how ma rocked on the crumbling edge,
wearing that navy dress,
the one we would bury her in
on a bright Sunday afternoon
can you hear her screams-
swooping and diving, tangling
at last in the branches
like blind birds.

Remember that morning
how you stayed and I left,
because you said the road had come
too far back and China had gotten too close-
so miles became time
minutes patterned into days into years
waiting, listening for the ring
listen; can you remember,
did you know then
what I couldn't forget-

that I would always answer,
that I would always be the one
coming back.


Don Iannone said...

Wonderful poem! Quite powerful in so many ways...

Love this line: "did you know then
what I couldn’t forget." My how life embeds itself, and then how it gets all washed away just about the time we remember...

tom said...

still as good as before

always want to think duluth mn but i think this is a different place - ga?s

Maria said...

I will read this several more times, I'm sure. I love it.

Saä Viccenzo said...

wow, great, great wordssss welcome to dennis blog!!!

Ole Blue The Heretic said...

Brings back memories for me. When ever I read a poem like that there is all ways a yearning to go back in time to another place I have been.

Ole Blue The Heretic said...

I am also enjoy all the photographs on your site. Beautiful and haunting they are.

kav said...

Damn impressive man

Corsarius said...

Simply elegant. You've earned a reader.

The line that stood out for me: "because you said the road had come
too far back and China had gotten too close-"

Andrea said...

You are a great writer!

Thanks :-)