TOUGH COUNTRY

                  Wherever we looked the land would hold us up.
                        – William Stafford (“One Home”)

We have come back to rest upon the rock
we couldn’t move out of our heads—
you riding barefoot on a Kentucky

mule to town before I was born
to land here, young. He raised us both
after the war that forever changed him,

and us—all of us close, and those close to us.
I tie those times to the underwater look
in old Mort’s eyes understanding more

than his bib-overalls could handle. Doc
Sweeney was no doctor, but said it best—
“He didn’t come back the same.”

Slow to move now, we never weakened—
grateful for the gravity that holds us up
to gather tough country in our sleep.

 

 

“One Home”

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