Three Poems

by Marshall Callaway
Cufflinks of Cason the First

They’re lighter than they look

but heavier on me;

four generations marked

by tarnished fine detail,

the etching so precise

that polish everyday

can’t shine the branded ‘C.’

I’d dip them in some lye

that might dissolve the stain—

I need the stain as proof

that tarnished links still bind.

For my grandfather, who held me—at a distance.

I was afraid of him in life,

my marble-fisted raconteur.

He kept his hands at ten and two,

teaching me how George S. Patton

taught him to drive when he was twelve.

Thus caution chiseled on his hands

became an unlikely lesson

from a man who took his chances

and split me somewhere between

terrific and terrified.

Even now, after he is gone,

I am afraid to write these lines.

Foot Soldier

Spun wheels dragged her across crushed gravel,

cutting her cheerleading career short:

seven inches below her left knee.

Odd to me, then, that this lack of God’s

protection has renewed devotion,

wrought lame parables of a new path.


MARSHALL CALLAWAY is a native of Columbus, Georgia. Though enamored with his homeland, he currently resides in Davis, California, where he is introducing southern gardening techniques to the western soil.


  1. Found it! I am still terrified too. Love, love, love. Come back south and teach us some western ways.


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