Every pothole in this road I knew as mudhole.
Turn right and then a sharp left at the Dead End
sign on Mulberry. There has always been an old
bitch dog chained to a tree in front of Aunt Essie’s;
the sooner rises and growls as I creep by.
At the bottom of Haughton Street, Manning’s
Garage is boarded up; Granddaddy sold off his half
believing no business should be bound by blood.
I wander up Hwy 125 beyond Lovers’ Lane where
Mama and Daddy courted. In the light of
the Philco they found my name; Marty Robbins
singing, never felt more like singing the blues.
Now I bear off at Poplar Point, slow for Whitley’s
Bridge where Granddaddy tied brush behind his
Model A to stir up dust so his soon-to-be father-in-law
could not see him smuggling sugar for shine.
Idling under pines by the vacant home place, I watch
a heron lift up in humid air over the sooner bitch
scavenging for food. Family ghosts retire to shade;
I want for kerosene lamp and radio’s gospel. Sure
as my spirit rises from a liquor still, this is home.