A dream maker, a brain feeder, an old, silver-haired Cavalry god —
mortal flesh fallen at Gettysburg –
sprang fully formed out of the reddish flash of enemy guns,
the whistle of cannon balls, and the dark
sorcery of avenging angels.
This Overlord — forged out of the proud minds
of the 310,000 unhealed wounded at the grinding
end of a desperate war
now reposes, splendidly,
unperturbed, beyond a great gate of clouds in a white
glory of sunshine.
He sustains initiates with intoxicating honeysuckle
nectar and night blooming jasmine —
perfumed drifts on the wings of lazy winds,
scatters sunshine like jeweled candy,
whispers stories of lost
At the fiery center of the sunbelt,
heads nod in balmy afternoon heat,
and charmed suns redden the sky,
whilst He severs connections with the outside world,
conjures dreams too beguiling
to resist: flickering images of graceful plantations, waxy
magnolias in amber light,
languid, waving breezes flowing from cool verandas,
fluttering heavy curtains; of black women in white
gloves bearing silver trays
to white-haired gentlemen commanding tables,
while Mammies toddle Juniors upstairs, and someone else’s
sweat waters the master’s cotton fields.
His idolaters, gray eyes half-shut, lie entranced, yearn
for old Father Dixie —
buried grief and Confederate rage pulsing
steady through unreconstructed veins.
Pushed by His unseen hand, accustomed to violence,
they bear poverty, misfortune, and grievance
as badges of honor.
As lazy cicadas chirp and bees hum in sleepy clover,
as piney roses petals fall on crumbled, nameless, Johnny Reb graves,
the dreamers hear the disembodied voice invoking another kind of bloody union –
old times not quite forgotten — of “white makes right”
and “The South shall rise again.”
I am a writer and English professor in east Tennessee. I am published in many on-line and print journals and magazines, including Deep South Magazine, Metapsychosis Journal, Ornery Quarterly, Six Hens Literary Reviews, and Bright Flash Literary Review.