In the Sticks
So Grandpa Horace kept a still out in
the sticks, the vines all twists, the garden gone
to weeds. He played the banjo, gambled. Farmed,
offhandedly. And I drink water now.
Imagination fails. Too early for
a drink. I never knew him. Ghosts are what
I want: my grandpa’s wildness, Dad’s compact
and vivid wartime visions. Borrowed lives.
My father’s dead. I have no son. We haunt,
or hunt ourselves, extinction drifting, smoke
on our peripheries. Like last night’s scotch,
a single-malt of brushfire peat. I sipped
it neat. You thought that I had fallen asleep,
but I was in the sticks, with flames, plucked strings.
Copyright © Thomas Zimmerman 2017
Thomas Zimmerman teaches English and directs the Writing Center at Washtenaw Community College, in Ann Arbor, Michigan. Among his several poetry chapbooks are In Stereo (Camel Saloon, 2012) and From Green to Blue and Back (Zetataurus, 2016). Tom’s website: https://thomaszimmerman.wordpress.com/