Jeremy Michael Reed
HOLD OUT AS LONG AS YOU CAN
from The Walker Sisters Place
Dust motes fill air and spiders corners.
Wood floors, past creaking, shift.
Scrapped newspaper on slanted wall.
Glass yellows in panes. That night,
I call Geneva to catch up, to ask after
who's visited, her shoulder, cough.
She asks where I have been. I describe.
"Oh, I used to wave at them from the car,
hanging out the back window on our way.
I wasn't supposed to, but they smiled,
stood up from the corn, waved." Where
I'd seen brush, she corn. Where trees,
new growth. Where path, the road.
My grandmother tells me stories from
her childhood with truth but with erasure.
She leaves out her grandfather driving,
grandmother in the passenger seat, father
not present, drunk, off doing anything
except fathering. I listen to her talk
and know the silences between words
as wakes. The corn remains no longer
visible: brush, trees, all we mention,
all we leave.
Jeremy Michael Reed is a PhD student in English-Creative Writing at the University of Tennessee. His poems are published or forthcoming in Red Paint Hill, Still: the Journal, Valparaiso Poetry Review, and elsewhere. More of his work can be found online at jeremymichaelreed.com.