On Leaving Oxford For the Second Time

Out old Highway Seven North
Towards Home—perhaps
Kudzu overtakes a bluff
and a row of soft pines
The weary gable
of an abandoned farmhouse
protrudes from the suffocating
vines in resistance
The sky, like death
has little to offer
on this late winter’s day
and the dog in the road—dead as a hero
reminds me of the first time I left this place
It was late spring
and the entrails of a possum
laid out like a street map
said goodbye to a want-a-be
Faulkner, Morris, Brown
and Hannah were laughing
in unison—knowing I would return again
to this place that owns a part of me






by Gary Simmons