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Sarah Gordon: Apertures: Andalusia

For Flannery O’Connor


Each day the eye finds fresh fare, 

filling the homely bowl

of routine with slivers of light

and shade so that even the cracks

in the plaster are crooked roads

to somewhere:

A car shudders up

the dusty drive, cadenced

voices pass the time of day

in the familiar dance, 

gauging their moves, a bow,

a do-si-do around the corners

of the room, as glasses perspire

onto the tabletop, a door shuts.

A boy or a man or just a figure

in the distance climbs

onto the sloping back

of a mule.  Somebody brings

news that won’t wait the telling, 

that doesn’t bear repeating

but will be repeated, 

somebody’s mouth a long O,

agape, agape, a love feast.

The bloody sun burns low

enough to set the woods on fire,

one arm grazes another

that doesn’t want to be touched.

A plate of slightly rotting fruit

rests on the dining room table, 

ink-smeared fingers endlessly

turn the pages of the newspaper

or carefully place the rosary

in the bureau drawer.

A former tenant visits,

he doesn’t want to leave,

he stands for a long time

in the middle of the yard

running his fingers through                

his greasy hair, clearing                      

his throat, repeating himself.

The tops of trees are silvered

by an antique light. 

For a moment a peafowl

stands on one leg

on the roof of the barn, 

a live weather vane,

another fans himself

in the front yard.

Nobody notices.

A window slams shut.

The hired man’s children

in the back of the car

swat each other with comic books.

Is that smoke on the horizon,

do you smell it, no, well then. 

A meal is served, nobody speaks.

Outside, it’s early evening,

the bats lilt through the air

as though they are beautiful.

They are small black doors

into the dark.

Ed. Note: Andalusia is the farm in Milledgeville, Georgia where Flannery O’Connor wrote most of her fiction. Visitors are welcome.

Copyright 2010 Sarah Gordon. This poem won the Ron Rash Poetry Award and was originally published in Broad River Review (2010), reprinted in Georgia Poets (Texas Review Press, 2013) and in Georgia Poets (Negative Capability Press, 2015).

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This entry was posted on September 29, 2019 by in Poetry and tagged , , , .

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