I can never hear that song without picturing
my granny, her gray hair roped up in its bun,
a wad of tissue pulled from her cheap cracked
plastic purse, spilling out coins. Yes, warden,
I’m just here to get my baby out of jail.
Maybe Uncle Willie. His baby-round cheeks
and shock of black hair on his forehead. Or Ben,
his sharp-faced older brother. In the pen. Again.
Around my mother’s maple table, all
the sisters sit. Coffee’s percolating hum.
And I am…where? Invisible. Waiting for bright
coins of story to fall through the cracks to me.
This time, a gun. The sisters shake their coifed black
heads and pat my granny-s wrinkled hands.
(“I’m Just Here to Get My Baby Out of Jail,” recorded by the Everly Brothers, written by Karl Davis and Harty Taylor)