Pine Mountain Cemetery XV
          Mag Bailey

Put eighty thousand people in a valley,
Give them hard work in deep mines
And families with gaggles of kids to raise.

Then for some unjustified reason draw
Alcohol restricted lines along the base
Of the encircling mountains, dry, dry.

Human beings bear a genetic weakness
For numbing various aches and pains
Or swirling in a happy fog on good days.

Let me introduce you to Mag Bailey, bearer
Of an elixir to ease that human need,
Moonshine, bonded and bottled, beer etc.

All available. In truth the law winked being
Of the species that needed her help, too.
She never cheated, she didn’t get rich. In

Fact from the looks of her and her rusty truck,
You would be sure she was homeless or
Worse. House burn down? Your man’s back

Broke by overhang slate, bank close on you?
More times than is recorded, an envelope, grimy
Used twice or more, appeared on your porch.

Children ate, coats bought, shoes on feet, gas in
The tank, milk for baby. Few ever caught her at it,
Those hidden kindnesses that saved your dignity.

No fancy stone over there, just a jagged slab
Covers a heart bigger than her stout body could
Hide from the neighbors she saw and saved.

Margaret. We should sing her name aloud,
Lift marble to save her memory for man.
We won’t and she would be that grateful.

What she did she did for reasons buried
Deep as her gray coffin buried there. Her
Secret safe right there with her for eternity.