… … Up Yonder

Almand-20130510-2
… … Up Yonder

We each add something
to the earth—
rings, coins, buttons,

marbles, Hot Wheels, meta-
carpals—a
leaving ourselves

behind for a time. And
how sick
we can be of our

selves. My great
grandfather,
Lorenzo Dowell Smith,

left home on foot
in 1884
to help his brother laid up

with Yellow Fever—then
promptly
came down with chills

and up with bile and died
hisself. That
mortal sweat is long

gone, except for trace
salts,
which have to be

mixed somewhere in sand
and clay—
right? Once upon

a time, my dad and I
combed
obscure cemeteries,

convinced we could find
at least
a scribble that marked

his illegible and lonely
bones—but
we did not. So, we

the living wait for a dinner
bell up yonder
that calls us from fields

to a heapin’ high-noon
meal—to
biscuits, gravy, peas

and beans, to okra,
squash, pork
and greens, to frying pans

full of cracklin’ bread
fixed for
souls struck near dumb

with life and raised
from various
ways of stayin’ dead.

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