Writings from Underground


I Tell You What

By Amos Howl

For your own good, forgive me, burying forget me

Spending neither petal nor stone, bless your hearts

In the daring fanlight, humid darkness of mourning

One thing I'll say, when I was a child, the pumpkin

Truck would go bump'n down the road like marbles

Sooey-up! That's Sawyer

For ya, hymns of harvest

Prayers in the imaginations ol' Kentucky, Heav'n 'n'

Momma's kitchen want you to think, the sole view

Through holes is up, the boots and bottoms of bare

Feet hour, the dirt in the eye show, around six-thirty

Children feed the chickens 'n' dogs while granddad's

pipe smoke drifts through

walls and rattles the planks

Savoring up on the clothesline, steam from the pot

Momma recalls stories about how great-great-grand-

Ma split a deck of cards with a cleaver, over euchre

Which ain't nearly as funny cuz she got poor Nester

On the next recital, momma wonders none of them

Boards was ever lifted, what's under there, nobody

A coarse knot, gram's old books, hand to the bible

Stirr'n chick'n 'n' dumplings would know except'n

Ol' Granddad owns both ax 'n' floor, and Kentucky

Boys love their mommas

Way down in the muddy

Roots of their souls, where it would surprise them

To find God's mercy and gaze upon endless rivers

As plump with trout as uncle Don when he spoke

against momma's spatch-

cock breasts, seasoned

More than great-great-grandma ever would have

Tolerated, he declared, ol' bumpkin, to the rust

On his pickup truck, hauling big, educated ideas

Silencing the katydids with a chew-spit motor

You could see how you'd start to see floorboards

That way, forgetting to be a forgiving neighbor

To your own kin, a body

Imagines blood and dead

Carnations, cordwood in the crawlspace, shine

Boldly on the ax-head as evening roosters crow