(for Bobbie Ann Mason)

My old Kentucky home
the place I’ve run from
most of my life t
the place friends left
to find a better way
the place hearts long for on cloudy days.

Kentuckians have stood in the canyons of New York City
gazed at snow capped peaks
of reflected light on jagged skyline l
ooked to skyscrapers pointing
out the new frontier.
We’ve been absorbed
in the crowd of Mardi Gras
stumbled through the streets of
          bottles, booze and boudoirs
watched bare breasts bounce
to the rhythm of Jazz.

any place we go
Kentuckians are lost
          restless to return.

Some deny it
swear to never go back but
hidden by tall Bluegrass
or green tobacco
there is a tombstone reserved
for them where family and
friends are buried
in deep fertile soil.

And, those of us
who’ve come home
who’ve seen bright city lights
who’ve heard the quiet of desert sand
who’ve smelt the smog of L.A.
Who’ve smoked dope and
slept in the arms of whores,
we know. T

Those of us
who’ve seen the Rhine
          the Tames and
          the Dead Sea…
who’ve crossed oceans
to be shot at and
to shoot back
those of us who’ve cried and
laughed and
with strangers everywhere,
we know.
We know in the end
by no real choice of our own
we come back.

We come back
because we hear the song.
The song that calls us home.

Tony Sexton