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Blood Relations

Kentucky thoroughbred

wild flower covered

rose wreathed

bluegrass hills

day lilies praying to face the sun

white horse fences on Derby Day

mint julep

drinking celebrities

wearing too much makeup and cloying colognes

spectator hats

pastel bow ties, open toed

espadrille intentions painted perfectly

round pen prancing

such breeding,

& the horses are pedigreed too.

The world of Man O’ War and

My uncle,

Etheridge Spaw,

my family’s last great horseman

elder statesman

until we got a jockey and horsewoman

in my niece, a true princess.

Etheridge had a voice like thunder

booming across a valley

melodic, bellicose, bass baritone

a cowboy hat the size of god

and a cherry wood pipe to match

stories of blood relations

unfurling in his pipe smoke


prince of our family

your memory I cherish

thoughts of you, on a faraway farm

just this side of a Kentucky heaven.

Bless and keep us through the days to come, uncle,

and thank you, kindly.

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