He was proud of his blue tick hounds, his
sixty acres of hills, hollows, creeks filled
with copperheads and cottonmouths;
nights utterly still except when a smell or sound
riled the hounds from their sleep
to bay like old mourners.
My uncle read aloud Sunday mornings
from the Book of Job in a nasal voice,
about hating the night and waiting for day
only to find in the day that one wished for night,
about how we are here for a flicker of time
then reflected in no one’s eye.
My aunt had the custom of hill people of keeping
framed photographs of dead relatives in their coffins.
When my uncle died she got rid of his hounds, his
jew’s harp, said she was through with men
and their ways, but she kept his death photo displayed
on a lace doily in her living room.