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Laughter of bikers drifts down
an empty street. Voices linger,
suspended on the scent of magnolia.
Alma Blackstock closes her eyes
and Bob Wills and the Texas Playboys
swing over the tumble
of the waterfall, and she
is a debutante once more.
“You’ve been up to no good,”
the voice of her mother,
who would die shortly after
the Great War, stops for a visit.
Briefly, the trees’ aroma
becomes Prohibition whiskey
from the lips of a senator’s son.
Somehow she knew, though the details
would have been too painful to keep going—
a husband in Germany, an only son
in Korea—she would outlast.
“Life is very short,”
the wind sings through the branches.
Alma’s skin, having ripened, hangs
raisin-like. Her still sharp eyes
watch over the abandoned dance hall
toward the laughter. The glow
of citronella torches and paper lanterns
floats on the water and for another night
before she returns to bed for a few
more sleepless hours in the dark,
the creek is ablaze.
About the Poet
D.A. GRAY retired from the US Army in 2012 and currently studies as a graduate student and MFA candidate. His poetry has appeared in Grey Sparrow Journal and the upcoming issue of Poetry Salzburg Review. His collection of poetry, Overwatch, dealing with the return home from Operation Iraqi Freedom, was published by Grey Sparrow Press in November, 2011.