Whatever happened to Jim?
If they should care enough to ask
don’t tell them that I died.
Tell them this:
He said he was going back
to a happy poverty
in Carolina eighty years ago to wander
familiar fields and woods and blackberry creeks
Clicking away of little lives in summer weeds
The trembling rabbits’ brown field,
bob white’s refuge of unburned brush,
the deer’s dappled woods,
a scolding squirrel’s hickory,
the moccasin’s blackberry creek?
No evil then in those still coils,
the gaping cottony mouth.
Could evil or death hide
in April rain or August sun?
Yet my feet awakened their strange odors
sleeping in centuries of October leaves.
He said he was going back to Carolina,
eighty years ago
to boyhood ways
of ignorance and innocence and happiness,
where poverty and troubles bent the back
of someone else who never moaned
and left him to his dreams.
He said he will amble aimlessly
across familiar fields, through old woods,
along blackberry creeks
and climb his trees
for hickory nut and muscadine,
free as a bob white on his post
and the running cottontail.
Wakened from the shade of our enduring elm,
a little white dog will die again from joy.
Aug. 1, 1925-June 1, 2013.