From WTP Vol. V #2
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.