Reclining in their rocking chairs, the brothers Beau and Cletus gazed despondently out
Past the final farm toward the convergence of the worn highway
And the fritz horizon. Cows paused their chewing; an ashy sun
Obscured in incongruous fluffs of cloud; it grew
Greyishly chilly. "Shame the kids're movin'," Beau squeezed out before a deep belch. Cletus only
Mumbled, his voice lost in the light drizzle rapping on the milky sheet-plastic roof. The
Was unfurnished, save the chairs, one ashtray, and a novelty sign reading: "Get off my porch."
Cletus took a long, pensive drag off a cigarette before stubbing it out.
He coughed a raspy croak wetted with sixty-six years. Besides Cletus' sporadic coughs, the only
Distinguishable sound to be heard in Moody Creek wafted in from the highway:
Rattles of the day's final Spokane- or Boise-bound semi-trucks grew
Inaudible as Beau transiently murmured, "Purtier than a string of fried trout, that there
set." "Whaaa?" Cletus wheezed. "It's settin'," answered Beau, loosely gesturing at the sun.
Fractaled-orange-shafts webbing manifold shades of yellow – amber, belge, stil-de-grain – grew
Plumply stout upon the farmland, edged between properties and crumpled on the porch.
"I'll tell you what Beau – I'm glad they got out,"
Cletus uttered with assurance, his eyes scanning the reaches of light upon the highway.
Beau fixed his cap, musing over Cletus' words. He cleared his throat before beginning, "If
Then stopped and itched his belly-button. Cletus turned to his brother. "I know one thang only
Beau: they'll do good in California. They'll be livin' high on the hog. Yer son n' my son
'll 'ave secure futures." Jack nodded somberly. He hated the highway.
He hated its ability to isolate everything. It had been his original revamp, the now-rickety porch,
His first project on his fixer-upper after marrying Dorothy West. They'd wed out
In his father's corn field; bought a house a mile or so down the road. Kids were born. Love
And in its growing all things tangible and gorgeous – like tangrams piece together – grew:
The farm, the house, savings account and family. They ate hearty; drank canned beer only –
Living was smooth – but it changed when Dorothy took Little Dale and got out.
She wanted what the farm couldn't give or grow, leaving tiny Moody Creek with their son
As the last moon of May, 1955 went up. "*****!" Beau had yelled from the porch.
He'd woken to his Buick's rev and watched its taillights wane upon the
And though he remarried, this was, in truth, mostly why Beau never squarely looked upon highway.
The light drizzle grew
Heavy, intensifying. "Gosh **** rain might near knock the coverin' off the porch!"
Hollered Beau. Cletus looked up and blew a cloud of thick grey smoke. "It's only
Rain Beau. No need gettin' ornery." That morning they'd seen off their youngest sons as the sun
Was just rising. One left to work for a dairy ******* in The Valley, the other went to figure
Himself and his career. The porch shuddered. Beau absent-mindedly repeated "If only..."
Daylight died; black inked upon the highway. Cletus lit a new cigarette. Moody Creek grew
Dense, compacted by the darkness. The sun inched away. Cletus hacked and put his cigarette
This is a sestina. The six end words of the the six lines of the first stanza are repeated in different orders within the following five stanzas. It is all followed by a three line envoy containing all six words.