The day is pink meat and almost done.
I take a drink. Maggie boils our corn.
I look to the mowed lawn, know the clippings
feed our garden then turn straw pale by June.
I get red-lipped, cosy as a camp-fire,
remembering: I held the phone for him.
And this was long ago, a decade or more.
For once the whole house kept mind of itself.
All of us, even Tuna Dave, stayed quiet.
I held my breath by the sex of his strings.
He plucked falsetto through Red Dirt Girl,
his banjo shivering like skin at each caress.
One note was a leather whip in a field
of daisies, the next an autumn leaf.
The National Radio Man listened
from New York City and said, Boy
you’ve got to get north. We’ll pay the whole fare,
Just come. And that was it.
The house broke up. No more camp fires
or late nights with our instruments. The smell
of good grass left the air. Some of us still
stay in touch but we don’t know where he is,
if he made it up to New York or quit
in Nashville or went, like Tuna,
into the cans and bottles. It was long ago;
the music was rich as the tanneries,
like the grass used to be down here.
But it is something more I miss
when Maggie shouts my name,
says the corn is ready now.