Literary Spotlight: Kelli Simpson

Literary Spotlight: Kelli Simpson

From WTP Vol. V #2

Choctaw Road
By Kelli Simpson


Yesterday, I drove my daughter out west on Choctaw Road
just to show her the country mile I came from.

I wanted her to see the sunset that has sustained me –
the scissortails on the telephone wires,

the ponds her Papa wrestled from the red dirt,
the back porch where her Grannie churned ice cream.

I wanted her to see the little blue house
where my Mama loved my Daddy

and they both loved me.
But I barely recognized the ruined

orchard, crowded out by a double wide,
the prize winning pear tree, gaunt as a graveyard gothic,

or the cottonwood where all us cousins had carved our initials –
now, lightning split and leaning,

with our scratches burned away.


I didn’t know what to say to my little girl
to bridge the awful before and after.

What could I do but try to pick
a flower from the wild, weedy overgrowth of my history,

talk it real to her as it is to me?
What could I do but reach

back as far as I could reach to where the old stories sleep
unrusted and shiny as a night’s first firefly?

What could I do but try
to trap one in a Mason jar and spill it

into the tender cup of her hands?

Kelli Simpson’s work has appeared in MockingHeart Review, Ygdrasil: A Journal of the Poetic Arts, Firefly Magazine, and the anthology Oklahoma Poems and Their Poets. 

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