Golgotha Isn’t a Town in Kentucky but We Got a Lot of Calvarys
Years before I was born, someone erected
the three crosses that stood on KY-490:
two in white and the center cross yellow.
For years, I believed that was where Jesus died,
off a two-lane state highway a couple miles away
from the trailer we’d carried from next to the kennels
to a little glen and its woods behind it.
Further down the road, my grandparents’ farm
and the little holiness church we attended–
and this patch of Earth felt as big as the world,
as ineffable and ancient as time–three cable channels
and worn VHS a portal to some kind of future.
Those crosses—not those specifically but ones like them—are so haunting, aren’t they? The roadside traffic death memorials also. They made my world feel complete, too, as troubling as they were.
I remember seeing some of this guy’s signs too: https://www.southeasttennessee.com/roadside-evangelist/
We’ve all seen those crosses and they evoke different images for us all.
I feel that. They bring up a few different ones for me.
Great visuals in this Shaun. Really like it.
Thank you, Bill!
really sets a mood
Thank you, Dustin!
Shaun, I don’t understand how the verb “carried” operates in the line “from the trailer we’d carried from next to the kennels.” By the way, to me, the phrase “this patch of Earth” sounds like Shakespeare talking about his love for England.
There’s definitely still a connection to the land that runs deep. I still feel connected to it, though I haven’t lived there for quite a while.
I was thinking of “carried” as “picked up and moved–” it was a mobile home. 🙂
I get it now; in fact, now that I think on it, the image of carrying the trailer did flit through my mind, but I’m too much of a literalist…
I do feel like that part of the poem is the cloudiest, though–in revision I’m definitely going to look at it more carefully
This really captures a childhood feeling for me too, of the entire world being my very small town and its farms. And then also this connection to something bigger, either through Bible stories or even just that VCR. Good job with this.
Thank you, Jasmine! I’m glad it connected with you.
I loved reading this and thinking about the childhood imprints we carry with us. I felt like I was there. Thank you!
Thank you, Ann!
Loved this one, Shaun!
That title is gold!
Thanks, Joseph! The title is actually a paraphrase from something I heard at Walgreens
I knew the pilot who crashed there, with two passengers. I taught his two surviving sons in high school.
I didn’t know the whole story–this was in East Bernstadt near Reynolds/Robinson’s Market?
Definitely feel this. As a boy I used to sit out front of the house, under a big maple, watching people drive up and down the holler and the world just seemed so unimaginably huge, partly because we could not envision its scope with only two or three good channels and a VCR with few tapes. I’ve never been able to capture that feeling as well as you have. Thanks!
Thank you, Allen! I’m glad I captured that feeling for you, too.
Love this poem. When I read your second line, I thought immediately of the Sign Man (as we called Mr. Hayes). and was delighted to see you reference him in one of your replies. I grew up in Middlesboro, KY. He lived not far from my great-grandmother’s house.
A note on ‘carried’: I remember my grandparents using it in conversation–I carried Alta to the doctor today. Nice regional touch.
Thanks, Pam! I was definitely thinking of that patch of southeast KY–I’m from the borders of Laurel and Jackson Counties
love title and closing couplet
Thank you, Pat!