Poetry

Letters to the Living

I. Charles Monterville Francis (1887–1918) The oldest Francis son. Died in combat during WWI. What do you know, for sure? Just now, I try to remember if the honeydew bloomed on both sides of the creek, if Pinkney’s apples placed first in this year’s county fair, if the church bells…

Myth

What sparked to life first— the apple/the seed, the belief/the believer, the sin/the woman?   We do not know. This was before our time, before time, before babel. Before light-fire danced in shadows along the cavern walls & warned us into thinking.   We do not know. Our snake-skinned bibles…

The City

After the rain, the alley smelled of wet screen door, the city-stink of piled up garbage and exhaust washed nearly clean. She noticed this only in spring. By summer the rain when it came bucketing down made thick mud of the foulness. The city dug in its heels, spread its…

Black Magic Gun

Here, in 1970, draft papers in hand, my father’s father begged the trigger of a .22 to blast a small piece of his son’s foot into the hillside so he would not leave the mountains to fight jungle communists. My father. His father. The gun. Gun of worn wood and…

The Boy and the Rafter

This was the summer after the winter the coal stoves of our neighbors upwind dropped flocks of commas on the parable snow. Noon crickets slept. The wind abandoned August and our trailer—that’s when voices lulled me back, pressed my face to a split-glass