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July 2019 Vol. 15 No. 2

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Richard Manly Heiman

Grandma 5.0

They gave you the middle name Forest. On account of you were born in the forest, simple as that. Somewhere on the Wilderness Road, party led by none other than Daniel Boone of the Transylvania Company. Boone the long hunter, blazing through Moccasin Gap, chasing empyrean promises of bluegrass and a fever-myth of more elbow room.

You bleared up at mountain magnolias and trumpet creepers, deer hide blanket tucked up under your chin. Late October and sullen Cherokee looking on, probing, from the smooth sumac. Panthers lurked deep in the green brier thickets; the White Rocks rang back your faint cries. You kept un-kissed by tomahawks and copperheads, all along the Cumberland. Later you'd be kissed a lot.

Deep in the old growth
only hemlocks remember
faraway autumn