Aphelion Issue 277, Volume 26
October 2022
 
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Lament for the Wandering Native Spirits

by Jay Hill


The ghosts that walk the southern road at night,
Caddo, Choctaw, Alabama-Coushatta, Tawakoni pass
Under the moss strung live oak branches, breathing
The frog air, thick with sweat, painted mud red and
Covered in shadow, amble slowly past the small
Town cemetery with no greeting for the sleeping
Spirits, dead eyes lingering on stone. They know
The ordered trees - soldier pine, loblolly, birch,
Corkwood - hear their leaves whispering, recognize
The sound and choose a path according to the wind
Humming through the boughs. They are no more and
Still exist, a tear on the stain of futile memory, lost
On a wintry night behind the cackle of
A tripping stream, banks pock-marked with crawfish
Holes, the albino forms of channel cats slurping
Flies from the surface. This is the way
We remember: random images, forms of thought, shades
And slips and reconsidered visions, all of our misspent sins
Counted again with pebbles, exactly numbered. Hold me
With only eyes, fix this face with strong arms and
Shaken hands; the dawn rains insufferably ahead, out
On the plain, cleared and desolate.


© 2013 Jay Hill

Jay Hill recently resumed work on a graduate degree at Texas A&M University - Commerce and is working on a biography of John Coltrane, as well as editing his first attempt at writing a novel.

From 2009 2010, he was a contributor to the online music site, tinymixtapes.com, where he had regular music reviews published, as well as the occasional non-fiction piece. Over the last year, he has had a number of short stories published in online science fiction journals such as 365 Tomorrows.

Find more by Jay Hill in the Author Index.

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