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Tuesday, November 2, 2010

HIGHWAY 81 BLUES


His father, was more angry, than upset.
Don’t come back without that college degree
is what he said as he watched his son pack.
Everything that he didn’t want to get wet or
blown away was stuffed into the front seat
of his little red Ford Ranger pickup truck.
A year had passed; it seemed to be time to go back
to where he came from, Highway 81’s mountains,
curves, and Cracker Barrels would take him to Jersey
the place he’d struggle and spend the rest of his life.

The hardest goodbye took place on the other side of
the greenhouses, by the old barn, under a mimosa tree.
His grandfather waited awkwardly, to shake his hand,
hug him quick and with a tear in his eye, a broken voice,
came one more- “Aye Law”, and a “Hate to see you go”.
“You’ll be back, once you get a little hillbilly dirt
in your shoes, you always come back to Tennessee”.

As he turned to go, he saw his grandfather break
the filter from his cigarette, toss it to the side,
reach into his Pointer coveralls and light up.
The boy paused, waiting for him to say what he always said
to the ones he cared about, who always seemed to be leaving-
“Stay with us”. As he drove off, the boy began to cry
as he crossed the first of many bridges on his way.

1 comment:

Kay said...

you always manage to tug sharply and deeply at my heart strings...

sigh.

... it's a long road out there...