Box 1, Route 245

There’s not much
redemption found
walking dusty roads in Metter,
Georgia
where my ancestors lie
just off beaten paths
and in overgrown plots
at old churches

Cotton
miles and miles
next to other farmland—
it all looks the same to me

I bet Grandaddy could’ve
told me
what each crop is
when it should be
rotated
or razed
what time of year to plant tobacco or
sugarcane
but he’s gone too

I walk there
in my mind sometimes
imagining I was standing in the same place
some family member would have been
standing
or tilling
in chains
or free
next to the same trees
under the same
sky

I come from
good stock
farmers
preacher men
soldiers
school teachers
who lived here
in heat
toiling over the work made by other men
bringing home
food
for thought
faith
for food
hope
in posterity

they were beaten here
lost pride here
trained their little Corinthians how to love
here
were freed here
bequeathed land
here
forged under pressure
here

they died
here
and lived
to teach
to show
to help me see my past as
more than
dirt
on a country road—
memories of a dream

Originally published in July 2020 issue of Eclectica Magazine

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