Walking east along Radio Lane,
a hundred yards past the last house on the left,
we pass by a bunch of honeysuckle in the fence row.
Massed against the woven wire strung between the posts,
a host of yellow blooms droop the ends
of tangling vines.
That sacred scent moves my mind back into the past,
nights of driving slow along gravel roads
after the end of summer days in West Kentucky.
Heading home from a long day of hauling hay,
or going home from church on a Wednesday night,
I’d turn right beside Kelton Rogers’ house and head toward Browns Grove.
Other times, just out driving my baby blue ’67 Opel with the hand-painted rally stripes,
tires crunching along the backroads with Three Dog Night
or Steppenwolf howling on the eight-track.
Trying to fill the gaps
between who I wanted to be and who I wanted to be with,
I drove alone through the closing darkness.
In places where vines grew so thick you couldn’t even see the fence,
mounds of blooms lifted that heady perfume
into humid dreams of June.
I knew nothing, really, of Old Testament incense,
but it seemed to me—and still does—
that a fragrance this soft and sweet
though not quite the same
as the praise or prayers of the saints,
must lay its offering at the very feet of Jesus.