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Steven Croft

Alapaha

When I take HWY 280 across South Georgia
to Birmingham, choosing its sometimes
lonely asphalt splitting forests of pine or farms
flush with crops over the monotony of interstate
and Atlanta's spaghetti interchanges, I make time
to leave this slower road, buttoned by small towns
of Main Streets, motels, and Dairy Queens, turn
further south, find the even slower roads
in the county of my grandfather's one room
schoolhouse where he sat for eleven years
and daydreamed of the river and pine woods
of quiet deer and turkey calls, sometimes a bear,
find the place he liked to go,behind the country
church on the, even now, dirt road, down the river
bluff in the rural place he was born into.

I park at the church where he pulled his pistol
on two angry roaming dogs, fired it into a tree,
only wanting to scare them he explained, would
only kill them if he had to: this lesson in spirits –
trees, animals, people, ancestors -- best taught,
felt, believed, here where hives of mosquitoes
float through twilight, where I walk the broken
clay road down to the river, where I wait for night
to shimmer moonlight on forever tea-dark waters,
mysterious waters, hedged by bald cypresses, wait
for whippoorwill's song, and my grandfather's
memory spirit-walks across where we would put
the boat in with its quiet electric motor, his memory
resting here in the waking night, heavy in my chest.


Steven Croft lives on a barrier island off the coast of Georgia. He is the author of New World Poems (Alien Buddha Press, 2020).  His poems have appeared in Willawaw Journal, Canary, The New Verse News, The Dead Mule, Live Nude Poems, Quaci Press Magazine, Anti-Heroin Chic, Ariel Chart, and other places, and have been nominated or the Pushcart Prize and Best of the Net. 

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