Broken- Wendi Clouse


Before I was,
My grandfather, creased and brown, was in an accident.
A big rig full of pipe ran over a stock trailer.
Even after 40 years, he couldn’t forget, so I was told,
the smell of burnt flesh and pain.
I watched exotic looking packs of unfiltered camels rotate in his hands
and witnessed bottles of Wild Turkey appear
from a beat-up, two-tone, Dodge pickup
every time someone lit a grill.
Those days I held my breath and waited quietly
for the sharp words to begin.
Wild Turkey was the signal he was headed back to war
where ghosts and screams swirled in burning wreckage.
I endured years of boots and hats,
George Jones eight-tracks, county fairs, depression, and finally cancer
scrutinizing every move, but I never once saw him look directly
at a horse,
he only offered broken glances,
shrouded by clouds of smoke.

Wendi Clouse, PhD. has spent the last decade as a research analyst within the arena of higher education. After numerous academic publications in refereed journals, which include New Approaches in Educational Research and Management in Education, she has recently, returned to her roots to work on a body of poetry, which explores the complex and often hidden life, of aging women.  You can read more of her writing at The Eggcorn

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