Last Ride on the Arkansas

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On her last ride on the Arkansas river,
she watched the world turn crooked,
all the hickory shading yellow,
their leaf tears forming
sunny arrows in the flow,
nuts falling in the glide,
bringing smoker memories
of hams cooked under their roast,
red maples tapped for their syrup,
the unharvested loblolly pines
dropping their branches
almost in caress, one last kiss.

Inside she could feel the cross
go slanted in her golden bedroom,
envision her daughter taping
together the amber pages of their Bible
turned to Luke 8:24, felt the Arkansas’ lull,
her in breath becalming the storm inside,
while shedding a tear for her gray mutt
with a rill of white running up his snout
and down his belly, staring at the spot
where the burned ashes of her bedding
would be buried.

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