local_library Point of Reference / Newberry County

by Kay Day

Published in Issue No. 22 ~ March, 1999

Willingham’s on the by-pass
was the place they always took
dead cars. If a teenager caught
a deer on the hood late at night

or a mother coming from the grocery
rode the Hartford Highway curve
too fast, the ride ended here.
Locals came by the little store
on the fringes of town

to buy a glass bottle of coke
and some peanuts or maybe
a pack of camels, because they felt
like they ought to buy something
to make it look like they stopped
for a real reason. Menfolk

stood side by side maybe smoking
talked up death in low bass tones
avoided looking at the wreckage.
Women and children met

it head on, talked with exclamation
points, speculated on impact.
Just above the site under lights
on tall black poles local spirits

gathered bathed in orange wash
gazed down knowing a few
pilgrims would join them soon.
Steady stream of people
tributary swelled with loss

each small group
thin talk
each taking up
where the other left off
ready to run
if offered
a turn at the wheel.

This poem will appear with a selection of KayDay’s
other poems in the anthology Links to be published
by PoetWorks Press in late spring, 1999.

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KayDay writes a weekly column for her Women's Poetry topic at suite101.com. Her poetry was awarded the 1998 Carrie Allen McCray Literary Award and the 1998 ByLine National Literary Award. She has published in a variety of magazines, among them, Purpose, ByLine, Perihelion, and Womenfolk.com. One of her poems is used in high school testing materials for the state of Ohio. Her articles have appeared in many magazines and newspapers over the last 15 years.