The 2015 New Southerner Literary Contest opens August 1 and runs through September 30. In addition to publication in theRead more
The first and only time I hunted deer my Father and I holed up
in an old rust bucket Ford van. Rear doors flung open to the woods,
we passed secrets between us. Cocoa with butterscotch Schnapps.
Limericks. That the boy a block down dropped a piece of granite
on a killdeer nest between the tracks. Crosshairs swayed over steam
and snowy woods, searching for Bambi. Don’t name
what you intend to kill.
Empty like a hollow reed
I let the wind blow through me
My many buckets hold the sea
My repertoire of bird calls
Metonymy of operatic movements
my mezzo oboe owl
zarzuela tone of timbre in the timber
not many deer crossed the road back then
but life was wild i remember the call
october 1959 i was nearly 9 mama was
in the house on the phone i could hear her
crying moaning talking i was standing behind
the barn it was hotter than hot i started praying
for granddaddy to live to be all right i was just
a boy but granddaddy was special to me
The House of Bourbon ruled Europe
for centuries, but do we remember
their laws, their names, their restoration
to power after the bloody French Revolution?
In most of our houses, they’re not remembered
at all, though we invoke their names at AA meetings
or when supping the corn mash elixir that teaches us
how to forget, all because French-speaking
settlers sought to honor them by christening
their new Kentucky home Bourbon County.
Mostly, days sauntered by
like strangers come on Saturday
to the county seat:
there’d be Wednesday,
t-shirted, bearded, smoking a Bugler he’d rolled
himself, thinking of squirrels and the mighty football team
of Beallsville. Or Monday would show up,
brooding by the soldier’s monument
before the Monroe County Court House,
three June turkeys he’d bagged
under the game warden’s radar
stashed like Ice Age boulders in his freezer.
In the Prints & Drawings Room, V&A,
a pencil moves across paper, the soft sound
rising in the morning air. On the table before me,
a blue box of Cameron’s photographs, the heavy lid
creaking like old wood when I lift it, the photographs
in their thick mats stacked neat inside, a sheet
of rice paper covering each like a shroud.
Someone was born here. Someone died.
The night they moved in, they made love
so hard, she worried the neighbors would
hear them. Afterwards she closed the blinds.
there were more than 20 of us piled crammed
squeezed front and back i was sitting on
mama’s lap my brother brad was sitting
on my lap granddaddy was at the wheel
speeding up matanzas road to centertown
when the old ford swerved in the sharp
crow nose curve the back passenger door
popped open and stevie fell out when
She was trying until summer
settled into all her territories
like a fat, placid castle.
The flowers wilted into dust,
and shade became just
a darker type of heat.