Tuesday, February 5, 2013
"floycealexander," by Bobby St. Clair
“Diddiers lay up the highway to Fort Smith.
Outdoor dancehall with tight canvas canopy.
Bob Wills and His Texas Playboys sometimes played.
My father and mother went dancing weekends
with Richard and Goldie Bartlett, parents of
Virginia who stayed in Greenwood sitting me,
I an only son, she my first love thirteen
years older. Her father worked in the coal mines
with my father. Her mother trellised her teen-
aged blossoming. The two families kept on
dancing until the war began in Poland.
My father, Manuel, moved my mother, Lorene,
to the city where I was born. There, he worked
at Camp Chaffee, the army base. He became
a fireman. Virginia still sat with me. We
grew older, I was still thirteen years younger.
“With Pearl Harbor we moved north to Wichita.
My father helped assemble Boeing airplanes
through the four years of America’s Second
World War. In Kansas, at five I started school.
I saw Virginia weekends when we drove south,
‘home’ my father called it, though he hated his.
He thought first and finally of leaving there:
Arkansas, where he was born at Mine 18,
now called Old Jenny Lind; Drusilla widowed
in Lequire, Oklahoma, though Abe was shot
and killed in Sallisaw. He left her children–
five sons, twin son and daughter, twin daughters dead.
When the war ended, my father took us north
to live out his days, then my mother’s, and I
go on living, my love of fifty-three years
shivering me still now we’ve dwelled the compass
points of a continent and found its center.”
(5 February 2013)
copyright 2013 by Floyce Alexander