Apologia for Richmond

by | Mar 6, 2019 | Poetry

Turns out I was wasted when I wrapped
the Jeep around a tree the night I drank
down a deep Tennessee dark—the handle
of Dickel churned then settled with a slosh
in the passenger seat. I’d be lying if I said
I saw God, like the time I watched you die
again & again then revived as if waking
from a dream is some kind of miracle—
we’re all capable of it, you know?
The inexplicable moments you’ve spent
waiting in withdrawal at the methadone
clinic—days after your dealer turned up
dead in a ditch out on Jeff Davis
Highway—miles from where we sleep.
When night after night I came home smelling
like a kicked keg & a cheap excuse, not
remembering the walk back from Oregon
Hill or the blisters on my heels the size
of nickels bursting the next morning—how
they got there & what of it—as if luck
has anything to do with the ends & nails
of a horseshoe once the steel bends & trails off.

Photo used under CC.

About The Author


Brandie Gray is a third-year MFA candidate at Virginia Commonwealth University where she currently serves as the lead associate editor emerita of Blackbird. She is a featured Blackbird editor in an online interview with The Review Review, and her work is forthcoming in Appalachian Heritage and The Boiler. She is also a recipient of the 2018 Sewanee Writers’ Conference MFA scholarship in poetry. Gray earned a BA in English and creative writing with a minor in communication studies from Hollins University in Roanoke, Virginia.