Heading east on 40 and traveling back in time,
We cross river after river on sturdy bridges of steel
Where once the crossings were longer and wetter.
The hourly distance covered now took weeks, months,
Years of heaving oxen and strong legs.
The Smoky Mountains blue in the late afternoon light
As we turn off the highway to a county road.
In a tiny town tucked in against the ridge.
‘Do you know where we would go to find…?’
We follow directions and pull into the yard,
Greeted by a young father and small son.
‘Do you mind?’ ‘No, they rest right here.’
My forebearers, first of my family on the continent,
Their headstones surrounded by roses.
Surviving the hardship of the ocean voyage,
Cutting the long trail across a strange land
To this place in the wilderness.
Settled in 1698 and died in 1726
On a most beautiful of mountains.
We stay for a few minutes then head back to the freeway,
Back to the future they could never imagine,
The future made possible only in their dreams.
For the Yetts, my father’s mother’s mother’s people.