TWO BY CHARLIE HUGHES
When we are gone
there will remain
the millions of maples glittering
in their unique sameness
of crimson and gold.
The mountains, too, will remain
their tops jagged as the rocks
littering Taggert's Creek,
caves deep in their hearts,
and in the sheltered cove
the umbrella magnolia
and the faded foxglove
that blossomed at our gaze,
the scented air we breathed,
and our shared words--
a misty dream
in the morning fog.
~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~
Elegy by a Country Graveyard
Ford Tractors might do 35 or 40 on a country road.
We owners of Farmalls and Cases held
them in disdain. Put 'em under a load
Uncle Jimmy said, then see what they can do.
Maurice, a man at eighteen, tossed hay
as well as any hand. He lived next door
in a four-room tenant shack hidden
in the far corner of the cemetery,
his dad gravedigger and custodian.
When it came to work, no one could say
he shriked. Every day he earned his eight
without complaint. In midsummer,
Ed Brown paused his Ford and wagon
for Maurice, resting on the porch
before the afternoon of work resumed.
The rig hadn't ceased its roll before Maurice
hopped the hay wagon, and as the speed began
to build, walked the wagon's tongue
to ride the Ford with Ed.
Before he knew a word, he slipped.
When I arrived a crowd had gathered
where he lay, gray as lead, in the shade
of roadside oaks beside the graveyard gate.
They'd felt the wagon jolt, somebody said,
as it rolled across him.
His brother Dave knelt at his side,
mumbling softly to him
as we waited for the distant siren.
The sun was high and I squinted
at the midday sun through puffy eyes,
face stung by wasps earlier that morning.
He'd been reading a Reader's Digest, his mother
said, while he waited for his ride.
When the ambulance had eased away, Dave
stood there with a pack of Camels in his hand--
He gave me these--said he'd not be needing 'em.
Dave slipped them in the pocket of his jeans
as the siren faded in the afternoon.
Back to work, somebody said, as the crowd
began to drift toward their pickup trucks.
Goddamn Ford, Uncle Jimmy said.
These poems previously appeared in the book, Body and Blood (Wind Publications, 2010) by Charlie Hughes, available online at http://windpub.com/booklist.htm