The Origins of Butler Smith

B is for bright. A boy. No
              birthmarks but his hair

(inclined to straightness) &
              his nose (more like a white man’s).

B, also, for the bluets you dreamed
              crowding the drive leading up

to the old farm you’ve crossed
              two states to see. What’ll you do if

you find no parcel in the name of B?
              At the courthouse, in the relic room

at the indicated plat? So sorry you don’t
              already know the yard where chickens

pecked & patted under the eye
              of Granddaddy B. So sorry you missed him

on his way. He must be burning high
              above your head, a comet, or worse.

The story of a comet somebody told you.
              Wrong comet, wrong county.

Wrong dates spiraled into the roll book.
               A roll of microfilm for every year you can’t

confirm. How to confirm a certain smokehouse
               not marked on any grid?

Lucky B, spangled B
               this is not where you begin.