Meeting Up at Guy & Mae’s

I drive west, the sun at my back

yesterday’s redbuds fading on either side

above swaths of pale lavender blooms

like tiny sweet peas tossed on April wind

while everywhere wobbly calves stagger

to first feet on greening hillsides beside tired cows

pull onto the grassy shoulder before the bridge

for a dusty red Case IH tractor pulling a sprayer

to a newly disked field, repeat at the next bridge

for a bright green John Deere with a twelve-box

yellow seeder headed out to plant corn

and farther west other fields with first shoots

spiking from Easter Sunday planting, a bit of rain,

tiny resurrections exploded from hard kernels

enfolding me as I journey on this two-lane

locals call the John Brown highway as it cuts

across three counties before it goes to gravel

beyond the north-south stretch of Old 50

roll past the new CoOp elevator hulking

behind its collapsing wooden predecessor

facing the elementary school (all the kids

beyond fifth going ten miles to Pomona

to graduate from the consolidated high school

they renamed West Franklin) always orienting

toward the vacant lot with the stored picnic

tables waiting for summer crowds that

never come under the watchful windows

of the Post Office doing business out of a

pale gray double-wide, city hall’s bright green

door opening next to G & M’s tavern where

hickory smoke curls around folks from farms

and tinier towns come for beans and ribs

laid on newspapers dated seven months ago

shadows dancing from dollar bills hanging

from light fixtures, walls papered with Washingtons

everyone’s politics and love-life on display

but aside from the pints it’s the best barbecue

around; no frills, sauce in Mason jars, free pickles

plenty of napkins, no straws, and even though

it’s a 45 mile trip one way that we share with

the noon crowd breaking racks on two pool tables

it’s worth every sticky fingered bite before

we merge into the bright sunlight, greet seniors

leaving the community center where we’ve all parked

tuck left-over white bread stuffed in an empty bun wrapper

for feeding the snapping turtles later into a corner

of the beer flat with the chips and extra slab, flip a U

put the smoke behind me, the sun at my back.