Old Southern Man

Daraka Hudecek


The tattered rebel flag waves in the wind,
as a way of pulling me into comfort.
He’s always there. Always there in his easy chair
or digging ‘taters in the garden, Old Southern Man.

Darkness comes. A panicked voice on the line
follows with the news. He’s gone. Papa’s gone.
Stillness in that easy chair. Death fills the room.
It’s surreal as I say goodbye.

Cold, rough, hard-workin’ hands on display
for the very last time. Hard and calloused, bruises
under the skin. Leather fingers takin’
their final bow in this act.

At least until the trumpet sounds and we meet again.
Cowboy shirts all left behind.
Smells still there. Inhale deeply. It won’t last.
Remnants of soil, spices, and mint.

The leaves are changin’ from greens to reds.
And making a carpet of colors on the grass.
That tattered rebel flag is gone.
Old Southern Man is gone. ‘Til the trumpet sounds.

Reunited at last.