Muscadine Lines: A Southern Journal

Reunion: Ozarks

Steve West


I like to think
These trees know me.
And don’t resent my leaving.

That the tulip poplar remembers me fondly,
That the hickory nods greeting

Where I’d rake the nuts into piles
And hit them with a plastic bat.

Yes, I hope this place
Recollects the days I spent here
In the shade of mimosa,

Walnut and pecan. And pine
Now overgrown and abandoned
To the ragged claws of nature.

On this hillside so far from town.

Daddy was always planting trees.
Those catalpas so we could harvest
Caterpillars and use them for fish bait.

That mimosa, with its red flowers
Like clots when it rained,
And folded leaves on humid nights,
As penitent as any preacher.

Crape myrtles lined the fence rows,
And red buds that blazed every spring.
With lilacs and wisteria, forsythia.

I’d forgotten what an artist
Daddy really was.

***

Steve West teaches English at Martin Methodist College in Pulaski, Tennessee. He has poems in the most recent Number One and in Prairie Poetry, Phantasmagoria, Mount Voices, Roanoke Review, CrossRoads, and others.

© Steve West

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