The Buick and the First Pall Mall

The summer I pulled a mummified
possum from beneath the hog house,
Grandpa and I sat in the kitchen,
the front porch on one side
the back porch on the other.
I knew by then the corn
rising in the fields around us
was feed not food.
He tried to teach me
the use of a stick shift.
The Buick bucked and died,
lunged and died again.
Heat pulsated on the hood
as he drove us back on the growl
of the gravel road. And
we never mentioned it again.
He was the first adult
I smoked with, as he
exhaled his Pall Mall
and said he wanted
another year to walk his land
before moving into town.
I slept in his bed
the night before the funeral,
the imprint of his head
in the pillow.