Let�s say a Methodist Church basement.
Gathered are the children of an absent-minded God,
themselves absent clear vision, absent the concise hand
needed for captioning the scalloped-edged glimpses
of how they got by, their common history,
quilting, canning, butchering hogs,
that will seem exotic to their children�s children
with an assigned interest in local color.
Someone laid hands on a cassette recorder.
They cackle and croon.  They sign on,
this is Sallie Murphy, born nineteen hundred and four,
as though these reminiscences are a radio show.
Come on, granny, get to it,
but she�s more interested in telling us who
than what and what�s what we need
for our current purposes.
This is a different country
and we can�t get graded on which cousin
or visitor from Ohio helped prime tobacco.
We need the low down on gutting a hog.
Wasn�t there blood involved?
This is what happens
when you let people tell their own story.
There�s no hurry, no precision,
so very little we can use.
Michael Chitwood