SISTERS: The Shape of Life

They came from Oregon to Chicago, traveling by coach and train over the smooth miles.
The sisters’ locks were now gray, their fingers gnarled with age. I met them in Michigan. My mother’s blue-green eyes sparkled with anticipation. She hadn’t been in Kentucky since World War II when my father was stationed at Fort Knox. My aunt had never walked the trails of her ancestors.
I had expected an unfolding of stories. The words came of their Kentucky born mother, and the tears she’d shed remembering the hollers of her Appalachian childhood.
From our days of wandering and meeting kin, grew poems.

The Kentucky River
sings
a plaintive melody.
The blood
of past battles
stains
dark rocks
as a woman
sips the landscape
with a dry soul.
Blue eyes
drink
the vintage
of whitened
palisades.
Misting
rain
splatters like blood
the name of a forebearer carved
in limestone.
A lifetime
of waiting
etches the wander’s brow.
Eighty-one years,
exact.

 

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