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“Driving West on SC Hwy.74-76.”

May 28, 2006


“Driving West on SC Hwy. 74-76”

The haze of summer draped
From the sky, above pine
Trees, still, like the laundry
Strung from the shack
To a tree. Backs to the ocean,
We three drove homeward:
My brother, mother, and me.

She tells us bits of both stories,
Both births: black-haired,
Crying babies, naked, we
Were, on the first day.
She turns to me: “Tuesday’s
Child is full of grace,
You had wise eyes, my girl,
And Daddy pronounced you “purdy,”
But you looked like an Indian baby
That I did not recognize
As mine,” she likes to say.

The wheat has “headed up”
My brother interrupts, his dark
Eyes taking in our loveland:
“It’s God’s country,” Moma says,
Just before she unwraps her
Bible-speech:

“That’s so apt,”
She tells the radio, “You just let go,”
My eyes roll, but she doesn’t know.
“tell Jesus, you can’t do it anymore.”
‘And He lets you see golden
wheat, forever,’ I silently mock.
She doesn’t hear, her deaf
Ears turned away, so
Long as shaved legs, and
Painted mouth make their
Way to redemption come Sunday.

“…babies are God’s way
Of sayin’ that the world
Should go on going-on,”
She says. With this, I know
Just how much has passed
With the decades since
My first days. And what
Has “headed up”? Twenty
Wheat-crops, and one woman’s faith
In a black-haired baby’s grace.

(God, give me a discerning
And inquiring heart, I pray.)

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