Hollywood, MO

John Gallaher | Poetry

Natalie and Kennedy go off to college. They’re roommates now.
And Kennedy’s grandfather dies the first week, so they’re back home
for the funeral. He had an antique horse cart
and the family decides to take him to the cemetery in it. They hire
a driver and horses. He was a veteran, and when the guns go off,
the horses bolt. They’re over the top of the driver, through
the gravestones in wide arcs,


My mother loved the story of her uncles, the McPhersons, “who drank.”
One drove over the other in a golf cart,
and when he heard the shouts, he backed up, driving over his brother
a second time. I like to think somewhere in the universe
she’s still telling it, beaming out,
like the movie I watched in driver’s ed,

the car crash movie

of undulating screams. Filmed in the 60s, it could’ve been my birth father,
I thought, in the dark classroom, everyone else falling asleep.

“We get these stories,” says the Adoption Blogger
to the birth certificate. My truck was stuck
in the snow, and I tried shoving plywood under the tire
for traction. Instead, Robin, giving it gas,
shot the plywood into me like from a batting machine.
This is the comedy version, so I walk away, a little gingerly.

Ancestry Day 50.

“Just in time for Christmas,” says the mirror
to the face. “Let me give you some advice,” says the road
to the car. Says the angel in my backyard, disguised as an owl, late
night blooming slowly down the block.