Marty Silverthorne

Gettin’ the Holy Ghost at R. A. Fountain
by Marty Silverthorne

Daddy’s dead but not tonight off Exit 63 
at R.A. Fountain General Store reared 
back in an old church pew. Stage lights 
fall on empty mikes, upright piano, 
thumping bass. The steel picks up, rings 
around the general store, in and out of 
a nail keg, across worn frets of a ladder back.  

The young crooner cries Waltz Across Texas, 
Daddy dances in the Sea of Galilee, 
Mama pats her foot and hums.  
The tenor sets Acuff’s speckled bird flying. 
Daddy can’t be held down by dirt,  
runs the aisles in R. A. Fountain,
dances with axe, maul, handsaws.

It’s Mama’s music too; the young boy 
pulls his hat off, slicks back black hair, 
he’s Elvis turning a hymn into 
a hunka, hunka heaven.  Mama rises 
from the pew, shouts “who are these
children bringing the dead out of the dark;
they must be Moses’ children
freeing us from our own Folsom.”

The spotlight falls on mikes at rest, 
after waltzing Luke the Drifter 
over oiled hardwood. Daddy came 
back from the drink box with a Coke, 
Tom’s Peanuts, a cone of hand churned
chocolate ice cream for Mama. 
He dropped peanuts down 
the slender neck of the bottle, 
baptizing them in dark syrup.  
Mama savored chocolate from the cone. 

If Mama’s heart had windows 
you’d see a house of broken panes.  
Daddy and Mama raise their hands 
grasping a life line, a saint pulling 
them into salvation as if they 
saw the light and were lifted 
on the wings of a snow white dove.