Every few years, lightning
found a wooden storehouse
of one distillery or another
in that green pocket of Kentucky
where the world's whiskey is made,
where I learned to swirl bourbon in a glass,
taste a coffee finish, learned to tell time
by the smell of sour mash in the air.
Heaven Hill burned for days.
from the grocery store parking lot
of flame through smoke, never close enough
to see what the volunteers described,
the barrels full, aflame,
blown-out stories of gray timber cascading
down to the river,
the catfish and bluegill
straining to breathe
beneath the bourbon slick.
I've forgotten everything else.
Spent most evenings with Bobbie Jo Curd
draining beers, shooting pool, throwing darts,
flirting with truck drivers and college boys,
driving home with the top down,
long scarves wrapped around our heads,
iced Makers & Cokes sweating between our thighs.
We were ablaze as you might have been,
hours between work and waking
when all you wanted was a piece of the life
you'd dreamed of
or all but ruinedwhat you had coming
because you were good,
because you were beautiful, spilling all you knew.