Old Town

I follow a blog called  City Jackdaw that features the poetry of Andrew James Murray; well, Andy. I have always been impressed by Andy’s work, but a recent poem he wrote, called “Old Town,” is truly remarkable. It is the type of piece that transports you elsewhere; that makes you forget you’re reading.

Please enjoy Andy’s poem.

As is their wont,
the ancestors speak of nothing,

just leave their handprints
on rock, drying in shadow.

In sterile dust
we kick
careless trails,

tracks opening up
in animal minds.

In towns
we lay our markers down,

watering holes
within arid charms.

The rats have our number,
wait us out,

sandstorms filling our lungs
like egg timers.

On the porch
she reads Capote.
Turns her face to the south.

Her bookmark is an old photograph
of an old man; a girl; a dog:
‘Mary and her grandfather Jasper, around 1900.’
He: sat, stern and saturnine, wearing the dust.
She: stood, hand lightly on his shoulder,
glaring at the camera,
facing down posterity:
Not yet. Not yet.

The dog is unnamed.
The birdcage in the window, empty.
In the book there are voices on the wind.
Here, just the parched whisper
of turned vellum.