Say she was noble: a bright & foreign kind. Her long-gloved

hands, her smell of coins & salt. She had a way of staring over the

yokes of trees at you. Slim, in her woven skirt & church heels. All

that light hair twisting through a comb like speech. Now say the

railroad came & changed the whole county. Railroad came &

slithered over the mountains to where you can't catch. Tobacco in

the lungs, grease unfolding in the mouth. How, year by year, your

father's voice grew narrow & sweet with graves. Clifton, he called

you. Butler-William-Henry. Called you to the home-place where

God Himself slept like a spine in the earth. But say you kissed her, 

once: a taste of glass. Say she muttered over you. Grandfather of

smoke, grandfather of great sorrow. Tell us what you gave for all

the stars drowned in her skin. For her womanish back of the neck,

tilting away.