Soap Making Day
The sting of lye rasps around the hollers,
harsh as unkind words spoken among friends
betrayed to feud and flat land,
coal that lulls many to greed
hexed by the siren song of a child’s un-fed belly
that knows nothing of mountain tops
disappearing like specters.
We prepare our dead,
wash the remains of kin
onto soil that will never see harvest
or hope tilled into spring.
Today, we drown the sun
with the names of the lost
who wander our sleep
searching for dreams of forgiveness.
The weight of what is carried to the grave
is too great to rest under,
heavier than Kentucky clay
soaked with the sorrow of November
that lingers too long in the field.
His age skids across crows feet
grizzled into skin like remnants of laughter
hung-over from too many celebrations
under a tired moon. Thoughts plummet
into shadows under his eyes
heavy with secrets he regrets knowing
but will keep as dutifully
as foolish boys against floods.
Some mornings, the stubble on his chin
overwhelms the mirror
like a wild field of weeds
erasing the ruins of the honey shed
he slept in once too often.
He thinks of bees drunk with pollen,
too far from home
to return before nightfall,
snugged into the folds of blooms
till morning sun warms them enough for flight.
He wonders about opening the shades,
if he can remember the feel of sun
slipping over skin like kindness,
the beats of morning
rattling through his body,
dancing the direction home.
His mouthful of expletives
scatters across the floor
when his target’s face blurs
into an unknown’s and his anger loses shape
like fingers of lava
curling into the coldness of the sea.
Unable to point direction,
they can only erupt
in uncontrolled plumes of heat that
implode into themselves,
heat he hangs onto,
all he is sure of at this depth,
all he can remember
as his mouthful of expletives
scatters across the floor.