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Tuesday, October 2, 2012

Cherry Grove

All around the old place,
the dead visit. The
day he opened up the trunk
of that sweetgum tree,
and before we saw the
horseshoe hanging inside,
something brushed against
my face. I heard a nickering

far away 

and the smell 
oiled leather and candlewax.

A few days later Lloyd
found an anvil half
buried in an oak tree, back
by the old barn. It was 

ten feet up  

and the color of storm clouds
when the air smells like metal
and electricity breaks it 

right in two. 

They say
a shipwright lived
there once. I know.
I've heard him hammering.
That was before the rumor 
of the slave revolt 

across the road. 

Nineteen men killed, 
tortured, all for the sake 
of a child's tale. 

A child named 

Obey. No excuses.

The crape myrtle we cleared
 from the back forty 
bled claret-colored sap, 
and stuck inside
one old, stubborn knot
was a skeleton key. 
The silver lying 

all around,

tarnished forks and bone-
china plates. Daddy said
she burnt that house a’purpose,
took  the train and 

left town. 

Ever saw her again.
But to be frank, I don't
believe it. 
I saw her walking 

in the fog

one morning, early. Picking 
bones, rearranging bricks,
breaking twigs over and over.

She saw me too.

We've been talking
back and forth, she and I,
between the branches.

*photos and post by Elodie Pritchartt