How the Memory Fades

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Years after I left for foreign land
and better living, strangers live
in my grandmother’s house,
the one that built my mother,
then me. Death finally put out
the for-sale sign
and foreign faces moved in.

I drive the ghost of going home again,
park in the driveway, afraid to turn
off the engine. Probably they lock
the doors now even when home.

I look beyond the new paint to an old
picture, see the porch where rocking chairs
made music on the loose boards,
welcoming uninvited neighbors.
Womenfolk shelled peas and swatted flies.
Men spat tobacco, swapped pocket knives.
Between sips of sweet tea, everyone
blamed sin for the heat and drought.

Family and faith died in this house.
I fled, a prodigal son, black sheep
who sold his inheritance and memory,
who can never go home except in passing,
as the picture further fades
in the rearview mirror.

Robert S. King

Robert S. King, a native Georgian, now lives in Lexington, Kentucky. His poems have appeared in numerous magazines, including Atlanta Review, Chariton Review, Hollins Critic, Kenyon Review, Main Street Rag and others. He has published four chapbooks (When Stars Fall Down as Snow, Garland Press 1976; Dream of the Electric Eel, Wolfsong Publications 1982; The Traveller’s Tale, Whistle Press 1998; and Diary of the Last Person on Earth, Sybaritic Press 2014). His full‐length collections are The Hunted River and The Gravedigger’s Roots, both in 2nd editions from FutureCycle Press, 2012; One Man's Profit from Sweatshoppe Publications, 2013; and Developing a Photograph of God, Glass Lyre Press, 2014. You can learn more about Robert by stopping by his website.

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