Jerry Hogan: Poetry: Dec 2020

Southern Legitimacy Statement: Fayetteville, Arkansas is my home. I grew up here and then was gone for a very long time. But I came back to live here again and to research and write. I’m a local historian, a novelist, and a poet. Some of my work is set in various fictional incarnations of Fayetteville and my nonfiction is directly based here. I suspect that even in the things I write that don’t have southern settings that my southern upbringing still informs every word.

Cold Morning

It was a cold,
leaden-gray morning
what they call raw
with the wind sharp and
the air wet and chilling
through light winter coats.

The old church on the
dirt road needed paint and
a new roof, work done
around the windows to keep
the winter out and the brown pews
had little cracks in them and
aged hymnals in slots on the back.

Up front by the preacher’s podium
children, unsure, uncomfortable,
squirmed, barely heard nor
understood why there was a
casket and why the someone
up there, who might have been
their grandfather, was gone and the
preacher said only god could
judge him for doing only what
god could choose to do.

Outside, by the grave,
people wept and children, too,
though they weren’t sure why,
only knew it was a cold,
leaden-gray morning, raw, the
wind sharp, air wet and
chilling, biting through
their light winter coats.