In This Memory

In this memory
that was not my memory
I purchased a slave
a newspaper
and a poetry book.

The slave was young.
An African woman
with only a few
words of English.

The newspaper was published
a week before in New Orleans
but my copy I purchased
in Richmond on the James.

The poetry book
was written by an anonymous man
with an engraved portrait
of his youthful features
and no listed publisher.

In this memory
that was not my memory
I drank too much whiskey
suffered from a fatty liver
and smelled like stale cigars.

Being tired of these
uninvited thoughts
I turned my mind to the garden
and weeded between
rows of vegetables.

With dirt under my fingernails
and a clear mind
I returned inside my home
and sat down
to reread favorites
from Leaves of Grass.

copyright © 2021 Kenneth P. Gurney

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