Priscilla Atkins The 2River View, 8.3 (Spring 2004)
Death Wish in Idlewild

Off the main road, I float down
to where asphalt ends.
Trails of moss-covered cabins flicker
through October trees,
and lopsided signs whisper florid names
down overgrown lanes:
DuBois, Desire, Fleur-de-Lis.

Later, I learn in the twenties
this was a resort for African Americans,
that the collapsing lakeside
veranda once shaded the likes of
Sarah Vaughn, T. Bone Walker,
Della Reese.

Now, there’s only a watery sun’s
false spotlight slitting clouds
over birch and maple,
golden tracks of fork-footed sassafras.
Something sighs in trees behind me;
at every crossroad, I choose the darker path.

I am so lost I wonder if I’ll find my way
back. And who would care? I long to drift
down dusk until motor, lungs, dirt path roll
to a languorous stop, and the ghost eyes
peering out between loose shingles
blink just once to mark my passing.

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