Muscadine Lines: A Southern Journal

Uncle Coy
who died at age one

Thomas Reynolds


Only one person alive, your older sister,
now 85, still remembers your life,
which was numbered in months,
not years, and her count is inexact.
You were walking, she clearly recalls,
but still off balance, stumbling.
You had features much like your brothers
at that age, so that when she attempts
to conjure your image, more and more
these days, all of you blend together.
Although you are not forgotten, what memory
demands grows more precious each year.

Now her attempt to rescue your life is as valiant
as if you had tripped and fallen into the creek,
vanishing beneath the surface
and she were swimming, struggling in the dark,
reaching out with her hands to touch that
oversize shirt or to grip one of your legs.

The rest of us stand forever gathered
on the muddy bank, and can't even swim,
much less point out where the last
bubbles floated to the top.

***

Thomas Reynolds teaches at Johnson County Community College in Overland Park, Kansas, and has published poems in various print and online journals, including New Delta Review, Alabama Literary Review, Aethlon-The Journal of Sport Literature, The MacGuffin, Flint Hills Review, Midwest Poetry Review, Potpourri, Ariga, Strange Horizons, Combat, American Western Magazine, The Pedestal Magazine, Ash Canyon Review, and Orphan Leaf Review.

© Thomas Reynolds

Muscadine Lines: A Southern Journal ISSN 1554-8449, Copyright © 2004-2012