That Red Dirt Road

Kay Sanders

Kay Sanders first connected with Wisconsin sitting at her fourth-grade desk in the deep south, reading Little House in the Big Woods, never dreaming that Wisconsin would one day become her home. She grew up hearing her mother and her maternal aunts recite poetry, sing songs, argue, tell stories, and quote scripture, sealing her destiny as a poet.

In her review of Sanders’ chapbook That Red Dirt Road, published by Parallel Press, Lou Roach of Verse Wisconsin says “Kay Sanders understand the deep current of family that flows through the lives of those fortunate enough to have grown up in the midst of parental love, also knowing the warm affection of extended family members. Her chapbook…is more than a memoir. It is homage to the strength of connections and the sense of mutual support that flourishes wherever kinship is valued and nourished.”

After earning her bachelor’s degree in history from Auburn University and completing graduate work there, Sanders married her German professor, moved to Wisconsin, and raised a family of five children. She worked a variety of jobs including time spent as a substitute teacher, church secretary, and proofreader and typist of graduate theses, before retiring in 2007 as Lay Ministry Coordinator for her church.

Her work has been published in Wisconsin Poets’ Calendar, Fox Cry, Free Verse, and Wisconsin People and Ideas. She is the recipient of three Wisconsin Regional Writers’ Association jade rings for essay and poetry won various awards with the Wisconsin Fellowship of Poets; and has won awards in the poetry contests of Wisconsin People and Ideas. She is currently working on a second poetry manuscript entitled Traveling Light and resides in Oshkosh, Wisconsin.

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Remember when you chased your cousins through rows
of graves, chanting rhymes
When you skipped through the cemetery tagging
tombstones, keeping count
When you balanced on low cement walls that divided
family plots, arms outstretched,
teetering, falling, shouting laughter
When you ran a curious finger over deep
indentations, cool inscriptions of a lifetime
Remember when you ran joyful through the dead