David King

Going to Valdosta

Four times a year, more
If my grandfather’s heart murmured,
We’d drive down to South Georgia,
The only place we’d ever been,
The end of the world.
As hills gave way to sand,
Leaves succumbed to moss,
We marveled my father knew the way.
We never got lost.
Once we had a blowout, outside Tifton,
And the Oldsmobile spun into the median.
We ate peaches in the weeds,
While my father changed the tire
As easily as he might have changed his shirt.
He really could do everything.
Nothing ever stopped us getting there,
Not blowouts, thunderstorms, state patrol.
On Sundays, late at night,
With rock music on the eight track,
He’d sing along until Atlanta surprised us,
Rising like new fire from the hills,
Then weave through downtown traffic,
While our mother got us settled down.
I’d like to have the world
That small again, that certain.
I’d like to know that I
Could always get back home.

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