Tennessee Winter


the roads
that lead over the woods
on the way to my grandmother’s family home
wind through the mountains
for what seems like eternity.

the drive we took through
the main street of her hometown
the week that she died
took almost as long.

i opened myself
to the harsh cold
of a Tennessee winter
and was greeted with a
gut punch. The winds

rip and the rains
pour that night in her city.
the place I know only for its
leafless trees and stench of death.

the roads
i ride back into Florida, watch as
mountain and oak turn
to swamp and palm tree.

the same roads that transported
what remained of her thick southern accent.
her yearning to drive one final time.
her disinterest in Paris because
she already had the most beautiful thing,
“family,” she said,

smile on her face, she ran her fingers
through the locks of my hair, then
sung songs to me of how to be,
lessons I took to her grave:

  1. how to feed the birds without scaring them away
  2. how to take pictures of the Crape Myrtles outside her home
  3. how to hold someone when they need it.

i wish she had taught me how to carry a casket,
how to grieve in silence,
how to jumpstart my life after her death.
she was my home,
but now her hollowed out bones call to me.