On Visiting the Home of Mark Twain in Hannibal, Missouri
Over two hours in a borrowed car
before we park and navigate
through the small river town stone
streets. This is not Whitman’s
song of myself, learned astronomer,
or pontification on a Brooklyn bridge,
this is the story of the poor. The gap-
tooth owners and the shoeless folks
in cut-off jeans. They live
in close proximity to their animals.
This was the land of straw hats,
moonshine, and slave owning.
Twain didn’t have it easy, transcendental
high roads were washed out.
That’s why he sent Huckleberry
down the river of machinations,
with a white boys memory
of what it’d be like to runaway
on a raft with a man like Jim.