Mama took me home to the Appalachians,
where her parents had a place near Valle Crucis,
off the road at Mast's General Store
up around the mountain.
I slept on a cot next to Mama.
In the middle of the night, I remember
waking to wander into the woods
walked until I found them at work.
Grandpappy sat in his ladderback rocker,
telling George when to add more wood to the fire.
I curled up in his lap and listened
to the quiet whoosh of owl wings
the piercing screech of a squirrel caught for dinner,
and the owl call -- Who cooks for you?
as he searched for a mate to share his meal.
I held my breath, waiting for her answer….
Grandpappy rocked in rhythm and told
stories about all my relations,
as the crystal liquid hissed and sizzled
dripping from the copper worm--
A cider moon grew large overhead,
shaking shadows from the trees.
In the morning, I'd wake on my little cot,
covered by a family quilt.
I'd look for proof of the night's reality
and find only warmth from kinfolk
guiding every step of my dirty feet.
I once had the pleasure of meeting the world famous storyteller Ray Hicks who lived in the mountains of North Carolina in a cabin without electricity. He talked to me about the importance of saving family stories. His life was certainly different from mine and so this poem is a combination of my memories and his life. Can you write a poem about an incident in your family?