Cal Freeman

The Treacle and the Trace

Francis Land House by Stephany Elsworth

What are you nostalgic for today? Will you drive into the subdivision at Opdyke
and stare into the gone meadow where Uncle Emmett’s house once stood?

The gone meadow where crabapple trees dropped their fruit
and wasps bored sour rot. Where a German Shepherd hunted nimbuses of gnats

gnats wagging on its absurd pink tongue. And what will you lament, exactly?
Uncle Emmett who made millions with his scrap metal yard in Southwest Detroit, 

who built his eight-bedroom colonial tens of miles from those scrapyards,
coke yards, factories, and ore docks lining the banks of The Rouge and lived to be

an octogenarian? Every story begins in an erstwhile place with an implied or stated
once, but this is not a story. Fox soft-footing from a popple copse at dusk, a string

of ranch houses lining a circular drive. In a true vehicle of projected scrap,
in a planned obsolescence, you stop from time to time and think of him.


About the writer:
Cal Freeman is the author of the book Fight Songs. His writing has appeared in many journals including Southword, The Moth, Passages North, The Journal, Hippocampus, Drunken Boat, and The Poetry Review. He currently serves as music editor of The Museum of Americana and teaches at Oakland University.

Image: Francis Land House (a colonial era structure in Virginia Beach, Virginia) by Stephany Elsworth. Pen and ink. 8 x 10 inches. 2012. By permission. Elsworth is an artist and art teacher. She is originally from New Braunfels, Texas, but has lived all over the United States. She earned her Bachelor of Fine Arts degree from Texas State University San Marcos and her Masters degree from Grand Canyon University. She currently teaches art and ceramics at the junior high school level.

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