Dr. Ralph Monday


Rounding the curve, halted by the SUV’s

emergency blinkers winking like some

Dis tower, I fell obediently in line as a

first grader in the cafeteria.

Head on collision, the officer said,

before directing me to the detour

ahead. Passing the crumpled car,

front shoved in like a monkey playing

accordion, I noticed the blanket covered

form loaded like a cord of wood

into an ambulance.

This one on a final detour from Sunday

morning church. But aren’t we all on

deviations, diversions?

Through the rain, the mist, the mountain

road, around one bend & an Amish

horse & buggy clattered on asphalt.

What detours awaited that black capsule?

Who could know. Detours.

Bypasses in time like a train switching


If I had detoured from the first love,

where would the train have taken me?

Not that moment, so not this minute.

Daughters instead of sons.

Dogs instead of cats.


What about your sidetrack?

you would have married

another & never went with

your wife to find her brother

three weeks dead sprawled in the

doorway halfway between the

bathroom & bedroom. You never

forgot the smell.

Or your sister who lost her rosary &

became a whore not a nun &

never met the suicide she would

have saved.


Like the Amish above who swerved

away from the 21st century, zigged instead

of zagged, found themselves in a 19th

century wormhole so that I would spy

them on this Sunday detour on a road with

many curves.

Ralph Monday is Professor of English at Roane State Community College in Harriman, TN., and has published hundreds of poems in over 100 journals. A chapbook, All American Girl and Other Poems, was published in July 2014. A book Empty Houses and American Renditions was published May 2015 by Aldrich Press. A Kindle chapbook Narcissus the Sorcerer was published June 2015 by Odin Hill Press. An e-book, Bergman’s Island & Other Poems was published by Poetry Repairs in March of 2017, and a humanities text was published by Kendall/Hunt in 2018.


About vision791

Pushcart nominee Jeanette Cheezum has been published on several online writing sites and in fifteen Anthology books and four poetry books. Three of these books have made the New York Times Best Sellers list. Awarded The Helium Networks Premium Writer’s Badge, Bronze Creative Writing Award and a Marketplace Writers award. Recently she has published fourteen ebooks at Barnes and Noble and Amazon. You may find a list of some of her work at www.hamptonroadswriters.org
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