ON NOT VISITING HANK WILLIAMS' GRADE ON NEW YEAR'S DAY
There are songs that start this way, south-side Montgomery
waking to an early morning rain, thinking,
Hank's last mile was in a Cadillac,
that country music made its business in
empty whiskey bottles,
The 21st century and no one yodels anymore.
A new year brings Hank's tired voice through my walls.
Who else is listening?
A heart too large, too tired?
in a world where styrofoam floats freely in the bayou
Time . . . a cigar store Indian . . . never flinching.
Constant, without concern if we wake in the morning.
Still as a Cadillac left on display in downtown Montgomery
New Year's Day . . . a wreath laid on Hank Williams' grave . . .
It's raining--which is fitting--and though I didn't visit
I was at his graveside just the same.
TODD GRAY is a PhD student at the Center for Writers at the University of Southern Mississippi. His recent work has appeared in the Los Angeles Review and Southwestern American Literature. He likes Fig Newtons, John Travolta, and the noun that is Pollywog.