Saturday, December 1, 2007

Glenna Luschei

Root Beer Float

First time in sixty years I order a root
beer float. I'm old enough to get what I want.
I want to slurp it in private but this man,
construction worker, plops down too.
I slurp. He moves. Good. I ask the soda
jerk for another squirt. I’m old enough.
This construction guy takes out his book
to highlight passages. Sorry I made him move.
Finally, "What are you reading?"
"A Buddhist theory of time and space."
Oh. That's what I wanted to read. I’m
old enough. Another squirt of root beer.
"I hope you enjoy Time and Space."
"Hope as much as you enjoyed your Root Beer."
One last slurp. Bottom’s up.
I’ve paid my bill.

A Time to Go

Everything flows, nothing abides
We walk the Green Way
while our dog swims the Yadkin.
We read history on the road,
the giant flume that brought
the lumber to build our town.
Before the corn reached
our knees, now so high
tassels hide the view
of General Gordon's home.
Gordon, youngest Confederate
General, dead at forty-two.
Nothing lasts forever.
It’s time to go.

First Cherokee meeting place
Keowee, then Mulberry Fields
during the Revolution.

Corn tassels silence

the sound of drum,

footstep of the march.
The harvest comes again.
Worms pitch tent in Mulberry trees.
Nothing will last forever.
It's time to go.

They do Death Right

They do death right

in the South.
"After they wash the bodies
the hair is straight,"
my friend tells me.
"I bring in my own hairdryer
and curling iron.
It's the last thing
I can do for a friend."
In the South, the dead

are safe. The traffic pulls

to the side of the road

for the funeral procession

as for fire trucks in California.
The snake handlers

quote Matthew. “They
who believe in the Lord
will not perish

from the serpent's bite.”

They do death right.
At his viewing, my yard

man who sowed ginseng

and creesie greens for me
wore a brand new pair

of bib overalls.

There was a telephone

among the gladiolas.

The ribbon said, "Jesus called."

They do death right.


for Frances
“At hog killing time my mother served

cracklings baked in cornbread
and spice wood tea.”

At farmers' market I buy sticks
of spice wood, sourwood honey
and a jar of pigs’ feet, chock

full of gelatin. My mother served me,
when I had mono, gelatin
blended with eggnog. Sickening!

My father brought home pickled
pigs’ feet from the railroad. Delicious!
Glad to be grown up and healthy.

Highway 40

Autumn they drive to Whipperwill
to pick the scuppernong and muscatine.

Spring they troop to Boone for mountain

laurel, family to the avocado, heather

and blueberry.

Summer they fish for blue at Nag’s Head,

send Hermit crabs racing for a shell.

Remembering what Jesus said,
"Fox’s have dens and birds of the air

have nests, but the son of man

has no place to lay his head.”

I winter back to California.
Pruners trimmed my giant valley oak.

Birds were looking for their home:

Spanish moss and mistletoe.

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