Relics

by David King



All afternoon, we’ve unearthed the past
Turned back wet leaves, rolled logs,
Dug out the dust of the dead.
At the Confederate mill outside Kingston,
Four miles off Georgia Highway 245,
We’ve made our own march,
Rest now as Rebels did,
Our shovels leaned like rifles
Against ancient rocks and trees.
We wanted history not found on markers,
Or even in anecdotes of the old.
We desired objects, proof, relics.
Yet no artifacts remain,
No bullets, no flags, no buttons.
Only the mill still barely stands,
Crumbling under kudzu.
Instead the metal detectors buzzed
A litany for beer cans, a tire tool, road signs.
More than once we came across
Spent shotgun shells and magazine girls,
Struggling naked out from pine straw.
Nearer the highway, the corpse of a Ford
Rusted its own steel bones
Into the earth.



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