Stirring : A Literary Collection

James Lineberger


my cousin
jesse lee smith, age six, took a fall and drowned
in a couple inches of rainwater in a neighbor's pool
that had been drained
to keep some kid from drowning
i've been trying to write
a poem about that
maybe if i tried to describe
how scratchy concrete feels when you lie down and press
your face up against it like
uncle robert's beard the day they had jesse lee's funeral and uncle robert
kept trying to pick the little body up out of the casket
and hold it to his cheek
till finally uncle tom and aunt shine had to take uncle robert
outside and lock him in the limousine
to shut him up but at the cemetery it wasn't any better
and they didn't dare let him go near the grave
so all they could figure out to do
was get uncle baxter to take his video camera
to the front row and sit beside aunt shine
where he could tape everything like it was uncle robert's eyes
looking all around in a complete circle

Location: Hellís Half Acre, North Carolina

Stirring : A Literary Collection

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