Evening Will Come: A Monthly Journal of Poetics (Besmilr Brigham—Issue 49, January 2015)

A Father run off from his Family

a preacher. Baptist. he holds

the Book (closed cover) his hands

formed in rage and patience, a mixed sensitivity

in the hands

 the long fingers tell their


the face is not that of a brutal man

he rode his horse, leaving the low trees

sitting straight in the saddle,

not in flight . . . preaching God (and Evil

came on him)

came within the surrounded clearing, fences, walls

to his barn, the great house where each

lived singly. to cast out terror

of age, of youth, he whipped an older son

in the cow lot, Elmo or Wilmo (Bud, Paul, John) beat his sons with

a horse whip, day in early fall

the trees turning; and the sons (Everett . . . Green)

turned on him

like holy angels with fire

they set their wills

 drove him from the pastures, and he went

to new land, crossing the dividing

river, located a woman and

he took her. strangers to his house

the mother died ( a young son

later found him, himself cast out) he washed

the Book clean

pouring rampage of the river, watched

the strange levees float

clear as light-held chlorophyll, printed


washing and being obliterated

for as far as the eyes could see, in a perilous

journey downward

down the Mississippi, down gulf ways

and white water ways

a strange Ishmael, half white, returning

to Choctaw. the disoriented

(it took another generation before


could speak in secret of him) a superimposed

heritage took over his house. blank pages

we are leaves that never turn


lost from the green. without print

erased of the Word, shadows (the slightly darker

skin) he died in the swamps of Arkansas,

now rice country