Time Travel

roses

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
once 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 by their dreams.

***For the Yetts, my father’s mother’s mother’s people.