Anne Delana Reeves: “Driving Down Rachel Anderson Road”


An abandoned bride, the farmhouse stands, solitary
in its stiff, two-story plainness. The mailbox leans,
long empty, no name or address. Imagine life

among stoic oaks and distant fields. The smell
of old sweat and tractor oil grips the barn,
the ladder’s crippled rungs kneel with the useless

shovel and hoe. In slatted stalls, dirt and dung
hold the ghostly print of hooves. High windows
of the house reflect a silvery wave of light

the vacant rooms pull in then shutter, except one
window reveals the dark spooled posts of a bed
and the shadows of doors half-closed. Who could be

happy here in this shrill of emptiness? Nowhere
is the forsythia’s fountain of yellow branches, beds
of irises and violets to seize the unexpected places

—the fruit cellar, the cow path to the creek—beauty’s
small offerings for the bride who wiped her hands
in her apron for the last time and walked. The road

undoing her tracks, the dust undoing all of her
at the curve where the river shimmered below,
and took on her name as the house could not,

with its sorrows of doors and reflections hostage
to window panes, blurred as the curve ahead,
the last thing I see, a veil of dust rising behind me.

Anne Delana Reeves is a poet and essayist. Her work appears in Crab Orchard Review, Image, Antioch Review, Chapter 16, The Southern Poetry Anthology IV: Tennessee, Nasty Women Poets: An Unapologetic Anthology of Subversive Verse, among others. In addition, Each Fugitive Moment: Essays, Memoirs, and Elegies on Lynda Hull, edited with Diann Blakely, is forthcoming from MadHat Press.

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