Gone Down



Vacation, roll out the house,
roll down south from Tennessee,
as miles pass see,
Cullman, Jasper, Birmingham, Alabaster,
Prattville, above the flood plains of lower Alabama,
where torrential rains drain to bay and bayou,
west to Mississippi all the way to Gautier
and the home by the Singing River.

Inundation: Gautier, new river house

I am afraid for my soul
in this house of a hundred crosses
no two the same.
Only the silver glyph
hanging from my neck
an amulet to hold back
the tortured visage crucified
and the demons that must surely assault
the home of a lost loved patriarch.
Night passes slowly in vigil.


The sun rises across the river
sleepily opening a neon eye to survey
the citadel, safe through another night.

Pointing a finger of unendurable glare,
blindingly bright across the waters,
blasting malign shades from nocturnal assault.

They slink behind great trees
rising above the high ground,
like a crenellated wall of first defense,
foundations sunk deep in black sandy soil.
Their scars show signs of long service,
not a one untouched, yet still strong.
Sentry squirrels bound from tooth to tooth
chattering all clear.

How many years the Live Oaks
endured on those river bluffs
standing resolute against the elements
before I first saw them,
Spanish Moss bearding twisted limbs
like pennants.


Daily the clouds form up
preparing their assault on these benign shores
testing defenses with lightning strikes,
thunders flash, a bombard blast in the sky
wind earlier like a lovers caress
shivering skin and soul
now hissing through leaves
like a broom in a flurry of housekeeping
leaving brave pennants whipping, torn away, tattered
from harrying attacks, until the great armies
begin wandering marches across the Atlantic
laying siege once again to this southern land.

Leonard's Haus:

Once the boathouse/workshop of the old man
who passed his fiefdom to the oldest son-in-law
who succumbed himself in duty
leaving the care of body and soul
to a revolving age of Matriarchy
waiting for the next to grow and hold,
then go down in turn.

There are a thousand things inside
more a museum, filled with gawkable décor
of the land and shore, all with a story to tell
of which the wooden Indian said not a word
while the squirrel on a swing laughed
at the things I did not see
but I saw one that held my eye
a yellowing sheet reading:
High Water Mark Katrina.


The sun yawned, pink and red,
blue clouds covering fiery teeth, gleaming
between dark fingers
smiling down on frowns
as I drove north, back to the hills,
far from kin and high water marks

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