by Perry Higman

I watched
Ralph Emery
Loretta Lynn.
They are both
getting old.
They both
color their hair.
Loretta is showing
more teeth
than ever.
They talked about
the usual—
how she got started
in Blaine and Puyallup,
her successful songs,
Coal Miner’s Daughter film,
and pitched
her new gospel CD
sold only by mail.
Ralph and Loretta
are old
showbiz friends
who TV-touch each other
on the arm
and say “I love you.”

But then
she began
tiny details
of the day
Patsy Cline
was killed.

Then she recounted
running between
one floor and
the other
of the hospital
where both
her husband
and Conway Twitty
were dying,
and that Conway
was gone
but still warm
the last time.

Then Buck Owens,
who gave her
her first job
on the radio,
came on
by video hookup
from Bakersfield,
and they talked
some more.
At the very end
he said,
“you know,
I’ve never told this
to a soul,
I’ve had a crush
on you since
we first met
in Tacoma
in 1960. . . .”

They all tried
to make light
of it
in the usual ways.
it stuck.


Perry Higman was raised in the rural west and in Mexico.  He has
been teaching Spanish and Honors at Eastern Washington University
for 36 years and is beginning to retire so he may climb, ski, and write
more.  Books of his poetry translations have been published by City
Lights in San Francisco and by Eastern Washington University Press,
and other translations have appeared in books from The Metropolitan
Museum of Art, Park Lane Press, and Takarajima Books.  Several
of Higman’s original poems have been published.  For the past year,
he’s been writing a series of stories about his boyhood heroes of the
Pacific Northwest.  

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Apple Valley Review:
A Journal of Contemporary

ISSN 1931-3888

Volume 2, Number 2
(Fall 2007)

Copyright © 2007
by Leah Browning, Editor.  

All future rights to material
published in the
Valley Review
are retained
by the individual authors
and artists.