Walton Road

Turn at Highway 258 truck stop, straight down
the gravel road to another Wal-Mart town.
On that spot lived Queen Lula Mae, who wore
a crown of gray, lived in a 1957 Royal Mansion

silver trailer, with a screened porch covered
by a tin roof that made the storm sing while
we were snappin’ beans and rocking on concrete.
The smell of steam rising off baked southern ground.

Inside Lawrence Welk, Bob Barker, The Wild West
and Bonanza. Dirigible sightings, the Model-T
and an orphanage fire, where poverty sent her so long ago. She platted hair, over and over, until

her ninety year hands, brittle bones, soft thin skin, grew too tired to do it again. She served fresh collards with sinking fatback, butter with some grits, cast iron cornbread, and sweet tea, all from a four foot kitchen, always preparing for company.

A parking spot now, where the weeping willow used to be. Just another cell phone, on a dull afternoon, rushing to buy plastic with no idea, this exact space is the hallowed ground where Queen Lula Mae used to call the bobwhites around.

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