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January 2014, vol 9, no 4

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Clyde Kessler

Time Zones


My grandmothers are neighbors sharing nothing. They have been angry at each other since my parents eloped to Florida, and hid out with little baby me the next year on a boat house parked on a lake, or drifting past the Tarnwood mines, where the buzzards still roost on the tipple snags.

Those buzzards look like ruffled trash bags hanging on tree limbs. And the way two of them lean at each other this morning makes me think of my grandmothers. Makes me grin at the cold smirks rubbed into any family photo that had them posed together—not quite the unity my parents had hoped for.

the backyard trellis swarms
with these fermenting grapes
bees lifting the sun

I’m eating buckwheat pancakes with grape jelly, courtesy of Mama Logan. Granny Setliff mailed me a small box of pecans, and I glance at their little pile of hulls on the kitchen table.

It’s good to be half a world away, shuffling as wild as pigweed and kudzu, because I’m my own man. I can enjoy their gifts. I think it’s great how the orbit of the earth has folded my family into the horizon, just far enough that all this grape jelly is real sweet, but homemade five time zones off.

My grandmothers are angry neighbors.




crane