Narrated by Wesley Sims
Listen in the third watch of night when the moon blares full and ghostly in the little country graveyard beside the spooky woods and you might hear a low rumbling rattle as the Bare Bones Band comes to life. Uncle Klem, that fiddling fool, emerges first, mildewed instrument tucked under his ulna, drags his chalky wrist along the bow to rosin it up, then fiddles the fast notes of Cripple Creek. The magical music draws Aunt Alma out of her casket, and she sashays around the stones. Roused by the vibrations, deaf Grandpa Gordy crawls from his crusty chamber clutching his five-string banjo, swipes away dirt, begins to pluck the strings. Cousin Carl and Sister Sallie climb up, plop down and tap their drumstick toes on a tomb rock for rhythm. In fifteen minutes, a whole skeletal troop of cousins, aunts, uncles, and friends are fiddling, picking, clacking and racking arms through do-si-do’s among the namesake markers. Silk flowers tremble as dust clouds bloom a summer fog. They jamboree for hours, clicking and clinking heels in the stony concert hall. Their singing swings low, but if you listen hard, if you attune your ear to the dead, you might hear the faint drum and hum of song until pre-dawn begins to expose the moon-mellowed landscape. And a little before twighlight, they end the hoedown and all file back down as Klem wraps it up sawing on the standard, When the Saints Go Marching In.
BIO: Wesley Sims has published one chapbook of poetry, When Night Comes (Finishing Line Press, 2013). His work has appeared or is forthcoming in Connecticut Review, G.W. Review, South Carolina Review, Liquid Imagination, Pine Mountain Sand and Gravel, Praxis Magazine, American Diversity Report, The Avocet, The Tennessee Magazine and others. He lives in Oak Ridge.