Blue Helium Sky

Dream Journey

I am riding down a dirt road
under a long blue flame
of sky listening
to women calling my name.
I am south of Nashville,
heading for a vein
of black tar and gravel
leading to the town
of my mother's people.

Through October light
and windows of handmade glass,
my six great aunts wave goodbye:
Angie, Margaret and Essie,
Gusta, Tillie and Ada Murfee.

I float through this strangely still town
in Middle Tennessee,
an apparition
in the nineteen forties.
In the streets, poplars
blaze in yellow gold
and sigh gently over
the red walnut leaves
falling in a fever.

Through October light
and windows of handmade glass,
my six great aunts wave goodbye:
Angie, Margaret and Essie,
Gusta, Tillie and Ada Murfee.

My aunts all appear brighter
than the overcast ghosts
of old photographs
I thought we had long lost.
They call me again and again
through these afternoons
but I cannot hear them --
having yet to swim
the waters of the womb.


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