Americana geneology Kentucky poetry

Mabel Spaw Bates

Mabel Spaw Bates


I have dreamed about you

every night this week.

I would like to think you are visiting me

from the great beyond.

We’re in your house and

I can hear your voice,

I can smell your skin,

I can hear you laugh,

I can hear you sigh.

I can watch you smooth the table cloth

down with your hands

and wash the kitchen counter.

We watch Gone With the Wind together,

then have tea.

We look through an old Sears catalog,

we sort your quilt pieces,

we string buttons.

After we visit the Halls Gap Overlook,

we end the night at The Dairy Freeze.

I love you immeasurably.

The older I get,

the more I miss you.

Your absence is enough

to fill the world,

Mabel Spaw Bates.


Rest In Peace


the museum of a lost southern family

my steamer trunk of historic things
holds familial treasures

the jersey my father played high school basketball in
and the schedule upon which he penned
eubank high school’s 57-58 winning tally

my mother’s wedding china

news clippings of an uncle perished at sea
whose suitcase crossed the river of the dead
to come back home and tell the story

microfilm of my grandfather’s death certificate
ruling it a homicide by gunshot wound

engagement rings that took and a few that didn’t

but what i truly desire
to hold in my hands
then place into a glowing glass case

is the first copy of Gone With the Wind
my grandmother fell in love with Rhett Butler to