Jeff McRae

by Jeff McRae

When Bret turned 50
I thought of my aunt
dead in her bed at 71,
alone in the gulley
where leaves rained
down from the hill.
She was 50 and I
was 23 in 1996, when
Charles and Diana
divorced, the first sheep
was cloned, and Peter,
Paul, and Mary were still
recording. Since 1966,
when they did Dylan’s
Blowin’ In The Wind
and Denver’s Leavin’
On A Jet Plane, she
sang along—all through
college and a whole
unmarried life. 30
years on, when they
sang about AARP
we laughed over
our dinners how
funny it was, some
15 years before
the tornado blanketed
the wrap-around deck
with trees, two months
before I moved out
like all her roommates—
25 years teaching
second graders and
she argued in whispers.
After she died—almost
two Mays ago,
my mother, 18 months
younger, read decades
of her journals and
then destroyed them.
Liz wrote over and
over about the wind,
she said. It comes
from nowhere, scatters
the leaves, and disappears.


Published in Cider Press Review, Volume 21, Issue 2.

Jeff McRae is a writer, jazz drummer, and teacher. His poems have most recently appeared in The American Journal of Poetry, The Woven Tale Press, Cloudbank, Burnside Review, and elsewhere. He lives in Vermont.

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