Aunt Reba
Brenda Kay Ledford

No respecter of state lines,
Hyatt-Mill Creek rose from
a hollow in Georgia, tumbled
down a waterfall to North Carolina,
flowed through the Matheson Cove,
gushed into the cold mountain spring
that kept Ma Ledford’s
milk and butter fresh.
On a Sunday in January,
Pa fetched a mid-wife
to the log cabin in the cove.
He held little Ila Reba.
“She’s my girl, all right.
Her thumb’s just like mine.”
She heard the water lapping.
Then Reba knew: she had dreamed
all the way to the Shewbird Mountain,
passed the night taking care
of the little ones and doing chores
on the farm: working the garden,
churning buttermilk, picking blackberries
and Ma making a cobbler.
Dare devils sneaked to the creek.
The younguns went skinny dipping,
thought they were swimming,
jumped up and down in the water
holding to a limb over the rocks.
Late in the afternoon,
they sat on the porch,
the whippoorwills resounded
as the woods grew closer.
Animals marched down the dirt road,
a circus passed their home.
She lived with her daughter
in Peachtree City. Noise pollution
drowned the sounds of Reba’s home.
The shadows grew longer,
her vision dimmed, time got shorter.
Between dreams, she wandered
to the Matheson Cove,
splashed through Hyatt-Mill Creek,
and wondered how it would be
when she crossed the river.

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