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Hummer of Anyone Decisive: 1915-1990

My grandfather—

John Walter Edwards strummed the guitar

under a sycamore tree.

City trash-truck worker,

curer of thrushes’ problems,

brought directly to holder & folder of his wallet,

my grandmother, Mary Emma.

New to the rise of millennium-ripped questions,

memory is technological; it lurks & it forgives

dilution & tint—

I have some questions from all the grandchildren:

Were you atheist or agnostic?

In your sphere, God was nowhere?

Why the austerity, so few words?

Leo-born to tempt & deter—

John to wife,

Daddy to Catherine

Willie Doris, Ruby

Johnnie Mae & Mary

Elizabeth, Dezzie & Louise.

Mr. John

to weekend women

& back porch bathers—

lithe hummer

of anyone decisive,

you sucked raw eggs.

Intro to empty:

your mother’s portrait, above

a bed, straight-nailed to the wall,

& never a ringing rotary—

did without,

as a way of being,

heal anything?

Young sergeant of Grand Forks,

here the tall tan men are sun

& though private, I am no secret.

“Big Deddy,”

this legacy of amours & faulting

darts my tumult.

from Sweetgum & LightningFind more by Rodney Terich Leonard at the library

Copyright © 2021 Rodney Terich Leonard
Used with the permission of The Permissions Company, LLC on behalf of Four Way Books.

Published in Poems Rodney Terich Leonard

This program is supported in part by a grant from the Idaho Humanities Council, a State-based program of the National Endowment for the Humanities.

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