This Texas Road

This road, these prairie verbena in their purple dress,
these cactus bleached yellow and red by sun and drought,
this music on the radio,
this Texas my home where my mother my aunts
and uncles grandparents great and greater
give me good reason to pull over on the gravel shoulder
by the barbed wire fence under the power poles of creoste dipped pine,
Texas juniper growing everywhere it can
and will making cedar posts for farmers and ranchers somewhere.
Let me look up and wrap my eyes like arms around these long low clouds,
this blue and white and gray gone to pale yellow gold, green, brown and silver.
My life, this world, the joys the disappointments the laughter
the dancing light in my grandfathers smiling eyes
tempered and polished by the years of broken backs, camel cigarettes
and snuff and tobacco stained teeth some missing
some I watched him pull out himself with pliers he used to fix his truck.
I can’t tell you the joy he gave me but it is the earth under my feet
and the salt that flavors my sweat and tears.
He brought me my grandmother,
she in her long pleated dress he in his big necktie in their wedding picture
both of them as young as innocence itself
and somewhere in their precious lives a row was hoed and seeded
and grew hope and life and tragedy, eggs and biscuits and gravy
and sorghum molasses and aunt jean who could sing
and play piano and paint as beautiful as the best,
never having had a lesson
and cousin Debbie much the same and the rest of us
going to the hundreds now I guess,
momma and daddy osie long time gone,
just a memory an old photograph and everything in this quiet crazy lightning and tornado,
rattlesnake and horny toad and warm buttered biscuit dream
that is so real and so right and with such amazing grace.

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