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Classic and Contemporary Poetry

COUNTRY MUSIC, by                    
First Line: Sometimes I feel so lean
Alternate Author Name(s): Brown, Fleda
Subject(s): Country Music; Divorce; Farm Life; Memory; Agriculture; Farmers

Sometimes I feel so lean
I can get past without brushing the sides.
I am on my first husband's grandparents' farm
in the Ozark valley, valley of mist,
cows nudging the fence,

three-mattress bed on the porch.
When I loved him for that one day.
When we listened in the evening to Jimmie Rodgers
singing "The Soldier's Sweetheart," fattening

his lyircs with patter, "Play that thing,"
or "Hey, hey, it won't be long now,"
his blue yodel like a train across the valley,
like a heartbeat, amplified by your vocal cords
in your sleep.

When we woke to a dream of biscuits
like clouds on top of eggs and bacon, the slick
of molasses, the body soaking up maudlin
fat and sugar the way it soaked up

the old homeplace, the way it made me say,
"How handsome you are, my love, in this iron
bedstead under the weight of old quilts
and breakfast clanking in there." Before

the future cracked its sharp eye open
and light from the kitchen syncopated with rain
on the tin roof, and I am not really there,
but in a caricature of memory, singing

along, having a good time making myself
teary-eyed, rolling the song out of my mouth,
repeating the chorus, moving past it,
with my trim, sexy body.

Copyright Fleda Brown.

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