The Hollow Step by Bill Brown

The hollow step up the cabin porch gave a plunk.
Creak of knotty pine led to an open door like scripture.
GrandSally’s face, kitchen stove red, her stern smile sunk
Wrinkle lines into her neck. Her aproned self, a gesture

To sit at the oak table for steaming eggs and ham.
Her eyes held stories you prepared yourself to hear.
Come this away Sadie, howled a panther. Sound
Of grieving barge at night on the Tennessee River,

As it chugged by Lady’s Bluff, her scattered bones
Imaged on the rocky shore. Mother of pearl sheened
From mussel shells, an eerie ghost, as the moon shone 
Rivulets of current streaming north. Morning dreams

Wake me to Sally’s keening voice. Dead these years—
The hollow step, a door that led to scripture. 

Bill Brown is the author of ten poetry collections and a textbook. New work appears or is forthcoming in Tar River, Atlanta Review, Potomac Review, Worcester Review, Evening Street Review, Cumberland River Review, Louisville Review, Southern Poetry Review, and Columbia University Journal, among others.

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