Roan is a mountain.
I saw as clearly in person
as if it were a dream.
I heard this little boy speak.
In the rusty hinge of a screen door.
He called out to me. Daddy.
Four years before he was born.
Flying in cars across bridges.
Lake water parted by Moses mind so as to envision massive fuming
earth moving machinery at the bottom, sixty three feet down. Damming.
Damning. When things get in the way. Or seeing a clean sawn off stump
too near a mountain top. Ears of gods grown strong straining
in on only the most whispered prayers hears chainsaws tear
through at least several decades, smell of high pitched oil laced exhaust,
sawdust now dust like snow on some long gone logger’s powerline boots.
The Sunday chicken cackles up bubbles boiling in a bed of sugar white rice.
Shovel parts a piece of that deep red clay and it clings, it sticks hard to metal,
stains anything it touches red, pine trees long past dead, pressed like flowers
between the crusty pages of so much devastation, weight, and of course, time.
Like the skeleton hides inside the body
and a foundation lies buried beneath a house
memory is inlaid within imagination.
One and the same, these two things are.
What is seen now and what all came before.
This world. Mountain springs and fields of flowering green
and a sunset that melts into the horizon like a scoop of orange sherbet
against hot sidewalk. With what at its core?
With what at its core.
I can not bring this self to desire new life.
Not when so much stock has accumulated in the old.
I do not fear the cold.
The winter we step out from under
into open bare treetop spring.
I have no qualm with my ape ancestry.
In fact, it better explains our species.
Our tribal colorisms and regional warfare.
Our instinctive challenge to anything new,
or different, or fundamentally not already ours.
Not our fast talk and plastic cars,
dictionaries and missionaries and doctors
toiling over life and death and credit checks.
Pastors organizing potluck dinner dusting
torture tools turned clean untested symbol.
Simple, for us millennials, to pack up our stuff and run
into new towns, new habitats, new jobs and prospects
and adventures breeding misadventure.
But I can’t do it.
Am I not like my peers?
Do I not share their fears?
Their crippling paralysis in the face
of any form of honestly given criticism.
I run from nothing.
I live where a death framed family lived
farm where they did
rusted old half-broken tools.
I prefer used.
Even wasted. Tedious. Outdated.
My life is not for the new.
Because there has never been such a thing.
Just perception. Since there was ever an us,
there has been one-sided perspective.
It defines our lives.
To the point we started building fences
just to make for greener grass
on the other side.
Forgiveness and memory do not have to live at odds.
We do not need to compare ourselves to gods.
Besides, in the end, they all get laid on tables for dinner.
And a god is a meal that makes you thinner.
Costs more than its worth, and made worse,
a god is likely to put you through it too.
Not a fire or a furnace.
But against black cast iron on the stove.
Coiled red metal tracks traverse an oven.
Divinity has an appetite which never slows.
Gods became Gods
by not forgetting
what is owed them.