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Where There Is History, We Haunt

— Joy Priest

Near that river, on the road I use for running,
I stop to study a freight car marooned

in an empty field, its open doors
framing my childhood home.

Statued next to it, a mule. Stark
& widowed of her industry.

Instead of antlers, a hummingbird crown.
Instead of monument, animation.

My dead appeared audienced
in the road-side live oak, botanical

in their lament, dripping
Spanish moss—lavender-slate

& woolly as an old woman’s hair.
Atavistic molecules of caution

snailing down my cheek glisten
from elsewhere. What to divine

in this warping of time? Above me
the blue light & goat milk moon,

suggestions to be elemental,
catch the wind like ash.


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