Hillary Keel: Justine & Me

Fall '12 TOC

Lyin' in the old cabin bed,
wooden floors, wooden doors
& rusty hinges. Smell of camp-
fire, pine needles and moth balls.
 
Lyin' in bed, a bit stoned. Just
thinkin' an' thinkin' an' dreamin'
about this sparkling gem of a
river swiftly rushing by
 
about this culture of country-lovin'
folk who get drunk an' stoned an'
talk all kinds of nonsense and how
they love their home and me just
listenin', just sayin', "Mmm.
Yeah. So do I."
 
'cause I look around from her
veranda and see the lush landscape
of wild forest full of game &
wildlife – now and then a wild cat
or a coyote – where the two ridges
and two rivers meet, rivers of
crystal clear, bubbly, bouncing water
 
'cause I look around and see the
mist dancin' around the trees,
their leaves and branches heavy
with humidity, or hangin' low
over the river
 
"I love it here, too," I murmur.
 
Her dad was a Greek man, her
mother Polish, but she landed
on the New York State side of
the river, speakin' none of those
languages, though she has talked
to bears, she told me.
 
She tap danced her way through
childhood – 'cause her mother
"made" her – which gave her quite
well-developed calf muscles and
a good sense of rhythm, but she
grew up to marry a mean, drunk
man who she up and left one day
-- she just up and left 'im --
her kids always hated her for it.
 
Now she does book-keepin' for
the quarry business and dances
most Tuesday nights at the Bridge
Bar & Restaurant when Little
Sammy Davis and Midnight Slim
come around.
 
On hot summer nights she sits
on her porch and predicts my
future in the candle light.
 
Once standin' on the night-time
bridge,         puffin' on a joint,
lookin' up at the starry sky,
she says to me – right out of
the blue – she says, "You
gotta forgive your parents."
Just like that.
 
"Mmm," I murmured and
looked at the stars, "I love
it here, too,"
 
'cause I look around and see
the water flowin', the deep red barn
against the blue & pink evenin'
sky, I hear the earth hummin',
the old door creakin', the air
is pregnant here with silly &
sad old stories, and me wonderin'
at how strange and wonderful
it all is.
 
I'm just noddin' my head, all amazed
by what goes on – the good music here
too – and time just tickin' just passin'.
Not Enough Night
Not Enough Night
© 2012 Naropa University