I’m washing down a sandwich with jug wine,
walking through the trashy lot, luxuriant light
spilling on hot azaleas and the grimy
ranch-style house across the road, old-timey
rural acres crumbling around families
God loves. My mother came here every
afternoon to the edge of her mother’s bed
holding the part of coldness she had kept,
handed on by women, sacred and alone,
wrapped in a dishcloth like a cottage stone.
Close to mountains with that faraway feel.
I remember being at the top, for Reidsville’s
football game or afterwards at Stokey’s Pizza,
the town crowding in from the small main street.
The shopfront windows steamed rapturous
and warm and I almost believed it captured
all of me, that one day I’d be satisfied. No,
everywhere I carried the stone of going
away, and people saw it, stayed clear.
I carried the stone all the way here.