- AM Radio
So many nights we sat up listening to basketball games,talking about cars and the cities he had driven throughin big trucks, all the dangerous cargo he had carried.My uncle was a night-owl and a storyteller,one-time drunk and chaser of questionable women,lover of American muscle cars, handcrafted wood,Shakespeare fishing rods, and black walnut ice cream.Some nights when I am the last night-owl stirring,the conversation in my head returns to basketball,great Boston Celtics teams from the sixtiesor the Tennessee Vols from the Ernie & Bernie Show,all before my time, but part of the memoryof the youth he passed along to me.When I worry that I’ve forgotten what his voicesounded like, or gotten lonesome for the only personI knew I could call at any hour of the night,nothing soothes my mind like scanning throughradio channels and finding a basketball game,any slightly shrill announcer over-enthusedabout a three-point shot, or a missed free throw,some reminder that we may share only part of lifewith those who love us most, that we make a sportof catching the memories time tries to steal away. [End Page 29]
Jesse Graves is the author of two poetry collections, including the recently released Basin Ghosts, and Tennessee Landscape with Blighted Pine, which won the Weatherford Award, the Appalachian Writers' Association Book of the Year in Poetry, and the Thomas and Lillie D. Chaffin Award. He is a native of Sharps Chapel, Tennessee, and teaches at East Tennessee State University.