From the black hole of sleep, a six-year-old struggles with a
deliciously familiar thump in the night.
Through the maze of her
mind's eye she pursues this elusive sound like a dancer in a dream. And
if that eye were open now she could follow the thumping sounds and
muttering voices out into the hall and up the creaking attic stairs to a
row of dusty suitcases lurking in the blue shadows.
night barely breathes. Ice blue moonlight cuts like a knife through the
trees. Shimmering leaves stirred up in a sudden breeze begin to
shadowdance with the stars.
Time seems to stand still.
my bed I can see the radio tower's red light blinking between thin pine
trees drawn tall into the night sky. With the full moon's light across
my face I begin to wake and find a question forming, suspended there
midair somewhere between my pillow and the moon and the night blowing in
through open windows.
Was it a question of the train?
long lonely train whistle moans down by the Confederate Cemetery. I can
follow the sound around each slow curve of the Ocmulgee River, red like
a bloodstain, flowing to the sea. Boxcars move haltingly past the feet
of guardian angels, their stone cold hands carved in permanent repose.
The long dead residents of Rose Hill are listening behind ivy
covered doors. Alone in the moonlight I have seen their spirits rustle
up and down the hills like leaves scattered by the wind. Now they watch
in silence as the train lumbers on, leaving a hush on the hillside. Soon
it will charge the river, hooting all the way.
In a nearby room dresser drawers rake open. Long fingers curl
through doors cracked with yellow light to pull me back from the rivers
Pajama-clad, my brothers and I are the last to be
packed into the faithful baby blue Plymouth patiently anchored at the
curb, now ready to set sail on our long day's journey to the coast.
At the other end of a shimmering ribbon of highway our little beach
house waits like an oasis bleached white as bones in the August sun. By
days' end our hot tired bodies will be blissfully soaked in the sea.
Tonight the swish and swirl of the tide will sing me to sleep
and by first light tomorrow I'll be drawn up from the black hole of
sleep by the seagulls' cackles and caws, as a deliciously familiar dream
gives way to reality.
welcome to St.