Sleepless on Medicine Creek

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D.A. Gray

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.


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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.

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