Friday, September 10, 2010

Two Poems by Sara Crawford


Four hours, mostly on a deserted
two-lane road,
with fields of corn, cotton, and
cows whizzing
by outside of the car windows,
we drive
past a sign that says,
“clean restrooms here!”
with an arrow that points
to a brown house
still standing
(not like the ten or so
houses I counted
along the way)
where an old man in a straw hat
sits in a squeaky rocking chair
on the front porch,
selling boiled peanuts.

We arrive in a town,
smaller than a University,
just above the Georgia-Florida
and pull into the parking lot.
This is my brother’s house now,
underneath the Spanish moss,
next to the palm trees,
behind the barbed wire fences,
and a policewoman who
looks at her watch.
Visiting hours, already.

We get out of our car,
stretching our legs
looking similar to a family
I saw in a van
a few miles back
starting their summer vacation.
The little sisters used beach towels
for pillows in the back seat.

After we give the policewoman
our driver’s licenses, fill out the
appropriate forms, walk down the
waving away
South Georgia gnats, unwelcome guests
that invade every room,
we sit at a table.
In brown metal folding chairs that must
hurt my mother’s back.
My brother,
dressed in orange,
sits across from us.

As visiting hours pass, we catch up,
laughing, pretending
everything is normal.
The fluorescent lights shine brightly
down on us, and a fan
in the corner
of the room
blows a little girl’s blonde curls
as she hugs her father, his tattooed arms
tightly around her little white dress.

For a moment, we are just a family
around a table,
like when we used to play Risk.
My brother always won.
I wish we could all get back
into the car
and follow that van down to
But this is my brother’s house now.
I guess we’ll have to wait until next summer
(or maybe the summer after)
for beach towels that can double
as pillows.
For now, we have the gnats and metal folding chairs.
At least, we have that.



I wish that I
were Frank,
the cat,
as he rams his tiny
head into the bottom
of my chin,
as if to say,
“nothing else is
as important as

He gets distracted
by the silver earrings
on my nightstand,
fascinated by
he paws at them
until they
on the floor.
He stares in amazement.

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