Sunday, October 13, 2019

Recalling History

My grandfather riding
home in a horse-drawn buggy
one sunny afternoon
when, as a young boy, 
saw a man swinging from
makeshift tree gallows 
in the fall of 1889.

My father, born at night
in a sod house in ‘08
on the Oklahoma plains
west of Guymon. 
Horse and buggy hitched up
outside, waiting, just in case
granddad needed to fetch a doctor
for my grandmother’s labor. 

Family on my mother’s side ran
into their house one night, in fear. 
A “machine" seen for the first time trundled 
down Chicken Row 
headlights flashing in the distance, approaching
the family farm outside
Quitman, East Texas.
That first generation of automobile, 
a spacecraft occupied by
alien lifeforms of modernity.

Each family carries similar
histories, revealed if explored, 
oral transmissions of life-legacies 
from another time.
Our own history now developing, 
familiar to us, will be viewed 
someday in a distant future recalling
days long past, distant vapors
of history and experience.

We are living our moments
to be recalled ahead of us,
stories heard by future hearers
as strange to them as 
a man swinging on a rope, 
sod houses and horse-drawn buggies, 
machines riding through 
an East Texas summer night,
headlights bouncing along a dirt road.

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