I look at the photo.
Not sepia, more seventies, faded,
hard to read.
Still, one can see the strength,
sturdy peasant stock mingled obtusely
with lowland planter blood.
It is the eyes that bedevil me.
Just empty: shut down like a small town
I look away
Stories of the panther, fables, tangle of lineage,
the hundred year reign of briar grass on heartbreak
give up farms
I think I might create a labyrinth, a formulary, soliloquy.
I might compound a study—
of why our story ends this way.
Gayle Ledbetter Newby has been published in decomP, Gravel, The Hiram Poetry Review, After the Pause, Literary Orphans, Passengers and others. He chapbook Once Appointed was published by Plan B Press, fall 2017. Gayle has worked as a teacher and as a social worker. She makes her home in Mississippi.