Way back in early times
when we hunted down on Knob Creek
tracking the claw steps of wild turkey
we cherished the company of Old Grand-Dad
and tales of his friend Jim Beam
whom he called Old Crow.
He told of the squawk of Old Crow
who had lived in early times
when he was simply called Jim Beam,
drinking the cool waters of Knob Creek.
He told us that his Old Grand-Dad
had a thin neck like a wild turkey.
The gobbles of the wild turkey
had enchanted Old Crow
and as a boy his Old Grand-Dad
woke him at early times
on the banks of Knob Creek
to tell stories to the child Jim Beam.
This man Jim Beam
grew up on dreams of wild turkey
that lived on Knob Creek
unable to fly like an old crow
even the famed poults of early times.
This was the story told by Old Grand-Dad.
But sometimes Old Grand-Dad
confused the stories of Jim Beam
and the tales from early times
became ramblings about wild turkey.
We learned it was a black bird, not Old Crow
that drowned in the shoals of Knob Creek.
We dammed up Knob Creek.
We built a pine box for Old Grand-Dad.
We barbecued a gristly old crow.
Nowhere to be seen is Jim Beam
or the fatted wild turkey
or the lost dreams of early times.
We will never know the truth about Knob Creek in early times
only jake-legged Old Grand-Dad’s lies about wild turkey
and the friend inside his head, Jim Beam a.k.a. Old Crow.
Joe Samuel "Sam" Starnes was born in Alabama, grew up in Georgia, and has lived in the Northeast since 2000. NewSouth Books published Fall Line, his second novel, in 2011 (view the online book trailer). His first novel, Calling, was published in 2005. He has had journalism appear in The New York Times, The Washington Post and various magazines, as well as essays, short stories, and poems in literary journals. www.joesamuelstarnes.com