Chickamauga, GeorgiaŚRemembered from Seoul
Ryan Dixon

Chickamauga,

I sound you:
Crest, ridge, valley, copse and field.

Your name fills my mouth like
Your summer muscadines—
I speak you as I speak my
Lover’s name.

Speak back to me of poplar lines,
Of the earth-scent of horses and of hay,
Of the passion-flowers veining their way,
Of their purple wounds on the golden bales.

Speak back to me of nests in my old trees.
Speak to me of my green-hearted days.
Speak back to me your honeysuckled breeze –
Speak what I had and what I hope to find.

In the Spring riot of wild onion and ragweed,
We watched a curtain of rain
Veil the mountain south to north.
The clay bled orange rivers in my hands,
Bloodless white beneath the mineral flow.
The cloudburst stirred the cedars, shook the blooms,
And stirred up rattling bones in secret tombs.

Later on we found an arrowhead,
Jagged grey and cold and quaintly grim.
I did not ask whose hands had shaped the flint,
What flesh it pierced, what body it had rent.
And as the rain falls now from a foreign sky,
Whose bones are shifting underneath my feet?
Who sifts these ashes underneath these clouds
And longs for what he cannot even seek?


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