— After John Lomax’s Adventures of a Ballad Maker
Her song sticks in my head
like a painting listing just enough
to the left to give me pause,
to lift it carefully to even,
for wind and water carried it
across the Bravos River
where the levee builders worked
Texas bottomland near College Station,
and though Dink built no walls,
she worked in water washing clothes
for her temporary man,
and as the story goes,
it was washing day not singing day,
and these songs cost a bottle of gin.
Lomax charming with juniper smoke
collects honey from a swarm of sorrow,
faretheewell, oh honey
though the faretheewell might have been
for Dink, within the year she lay buried
beneath a tree in Yazoo, Mississippi.
Dink’s heavy lifting fashioned the wings
and Lomax played the keeper’s part.
~ ~ ~
Kevin Miller lives in Tacoma, Washington. Pleasure Boat Studio published Miller’s third collection Home & Away: The Old Town Poems in 2009. Recent poems have appeared in The Massachusetts Review, The San Pedro River Review, and Crab Creek Review.