Thursday, May 28, 2015

Bent Mountain


Oheka.
            Watch them, ‘round they go.
            I straighten my legs and lean back for the ride.
                        ‘Tis always fun as they fly down the narrow road where we once walked.
                        (We ran, too, and kissed leaning against the sweetgum,
                         your burnished fingers lifting me swiftly,
                        my toes dripping clay from the creekbed.)

But, Oheka. The mountain of the Tutelo.
Full of surprises for the sojourner.
            As I said, quickly down the thin lane
            then whoosh
                        up
                                    and around
                                                            and down
                                                                                    then up again
            breaths held/breaths echoing down
                        dark green slides of pine and bear and berry.

Watch how the children laugh, eyes popping, a shine uncitylike.
Watch her grab his hand as he tightens the grip on the wheel. His neck is a vein of limestone now.
Their grey soft pup in the far back, tongue out, head back and forth as they turn
            and climb
                                    and climb again.

Off to pick apples, to taste wine, to listen to the music of those who followed us.
A melody, jarring a bit to the ears, but pleasant.
                        (Our songs were voices. You laid me gently on the yellow flowers
                         and hummed. The sun was setting over Oheka. Deer stirred,
                        turkey chased the locust. If my father heard us, he never said.
                        Your bare feet led us now. I sat on you and dreamed, head back,
                        as you whistled like the long brown bird.)

The car stops, and the woman walks over to the old cemetery. She lays a wreath for China Alice.
Grandmother.
They move again, atop Oheka.

I take many rides. I’ve held on to wagons as they climbed the dips. I’ve seen the first autos,
mired in red mud. Frustration in bowlers, then driving out. Buses and pickups, I’ve ridden them all.
They don’t see me, of course, ‘tho sometimes it seems a little one in the back,
with pigtails as I had,
notices a change in the air,
a sense of good will,
a rope through many seasons that touches her nose to mine, unseen.

Below, the soft valley where we shared a long life.
We saw war. But we were companions and lovers/I felt your heart and you mine
through three generations then you stooped one day,
white hair still thick,
fell through the grasses.
                        I blew tiny kisses all over your quiet face, then covered you in rushes.

Now, I ride, and in my hidden pockets I carry you.
I feel you quicken as the people climb. I see you walk through fall’s orange sun as their glasses
tinkle
            and their children play
                        and the woman and the man touch as we touched
                                                and fall in arms at the river
As I wait by the road for a ride back down.

Oheka.

Thursday, January 1, 2015

A Horse Limerick



There once was a big horse named Pleasure
who decided she didn’t care for her rug
so against the fence and the pole and the barn she rubbed
all the while snorting, blinking, chewing her cud
and then flung her green coat in the mud. 

Thursday, November 27, 2014

Virginia Thanksgiving


Thanksgiving in Weyers Cave, Virginia, circa 1974, at the Eavey farm. My brother Billy in the front, with tawny hair, my Grandfather in the rear, with red cap, supervising. 

Monday, September 1, 2014

Deer Me



I’ve mended the white rope fences since May,
Pleasure watching, smelling of horse and mischief.
Every night after a storm, the wet rope and red clay.
Every evening when the sun is setting over Floyd ridge.
Some mornings in a rush before work,
but what horse cares for work?
Now, summer ends.
The pasture is high due to complications.
Husband builds a sturdy pine fence
as the horse watches.
The sun sets more northerly now.
And I run out after supper
To mend fences again.
Great White watches.
Someone once said that animals know more than we.
Oui, so it may be.
In the far corner yards from the big stone,
two snorts.
Two quick wisps of movement.
Two clever and young
sisters,
taking off through the tall grass
winking with Pleasure.

Sunday, August 4, 2013

Marigolds


In summer at Weyer’s Cave, my grandmother’s garden
sifted through sunbeams in a green, fenced square beneath the screened-in porch
where in the heat of the day she would let me
sit on the cool divan and sort through the browned photographs
of my uncles, at war, thin, tan and grinning
in heated lands of lost flowers.

My grandmother’s garden had zinnias and marigolds,
blue hollyhocks, and bumblebees
amidst the cabbage, and pole beans, tomatoes.

The barn was further down the path
and further yet the little creek where my grandfather taught me to catch bream
and cook them in a skillet at breakfast with buttermilk biscuits and cow’s soft butter.
The white-washed shed held secrets of jellies, and last fall’s hams,
and a pool table.

The men we didn’t know were in the next town planning, they were, talking big,
thinking to stretch a highway and dig an airport in our Valley before another war.

But August at the farm, along the dusty lane, above the spirea,
a tomboy napped and
the sepia’d shots of brave uncles slid like dew-grass to the floor.

Sunday, May 19, 2013

Starting to write, in earnest

First chapter (with many edits ahead), in rough format, four characters created, three in 1690 and one so far in 2013. A few excerpts:


Bia understood numbers and in her camp the Tutelo men from the eight hills brought her grain and hides to count and pack...


...a sound never heard as though the mountain’s high boulder had been picked up by the sky and flung in one breath through the maqiga...


Staeka dipped his hands into the cool water and as he brought them up, a red sluice covered his long fingers.

Friday, February 8, 2013

Hey, Sugar


Tangerine fur on Great White full of
steamed energy               
at three still young
bouncing, ready for the mocker who waits on spring,
three snowfalls in a row
with smoked mist rising
yellow rolling buses on the road beyond in slush
chilled No-Name Creek
morn of  the horse
searching the pasture
for new fescue after winter of teases, winter of curling by tall fires,
winter of silly slides down sloped ridges passing black birds
winking
tossing sweet balls of cream’d white
to forget the chill
to seek green tips ‘mongst flakes
to think of the next, not the then, and swim in softness
through the mist.

Sunday, January 27, 2013

at the Paddock


just a piece of a poem this time, as an illustrated short story begins to take shape:


So it was on the crispest of January days, as the air left the hills for the tall blue sky                   
that the man was amidst his chores,
into the barn and out as every other day...

Till the horse reared
And slanted her puddled eyes toward the man’s distress...

Friday, January 25, 2013

shhhhh.....

Silence
snow falling
soft steps
wishes
kisses
slip~laughing.

Hay.

Sunday, January 6, 2013

The Waiting Room





Women wait and watch as the afternoon begins.
At the desk, a couple signs in.
She is slight and wears a plaid wool coat; he is thin and tall.
His right hand shakes, but slightly.
A blustering and friendly cop barrels in the room from a treatment unknown.
We all smile. We know him at least from TV.
A man with white hair waits alone. His eyes shift as each person enters,
or leaves for treatment. He doesn’t make the effort to read
last year’s magazines.

There’s always a curious one. Today, a lady of grandmother’s age.
Do I know you, she says to her neighbor, who shakes his head and moves slightly rightward.
I see you at Kroger’s, right, she says to me, but I don’t.
My side is really hurting; I wish they would hurry, she says, mostly to the tiled ceiling.

We are each wrapped in worry.
Then the door from outside swings open and wind blows in a grinning young man.
He is tall, and his skin mahogany, a red scarf on his head above brown eyes and
dimpled cheeks.
Where we in the room watch each other for signs of worse maladies, the youth watches only one:
the old woman in his arms.
He carries her. He has her up high above all of us – he is tall. She is slight, and grey-haired, and
laughing.

More a burn't umber.

As they wait to sign, I remember you in my own arms, how I could only see you, and how you
also laughed.
I was fear-filled those seven years/you were brave, and together we were mostly alone on the cold trips south.
You knew sharp pain and you knew skewered looks (shame on them),
and you built a tall bridge over to the land where cartoons, superheroes and good humor reside.
We waited in a rocking chair when you were tiny and I sang You are My Sunshine.
We waited in a blank room after they told us of sorrows and pain to come.
We waited in many an emergency room along mountains dark and icy, and for test after fruitless
test.
If I had known then, I would have….But would I have?  We sit in waiting rooms to fix the
hurts, to hear news that must be good, to have someone in white make
you or me or the old man feel better.
I wouldn’t have let them hurt you as much. I wouldn’t have let them do those tests. But I would still wait with you, wait with you, wait with your chubby fingers in mine, mine shaking. You never shook.

A phone rang, and the tall young man turned his head to us. We were all watching.
Was she his mother? Surely.
Did he always carry her? We say yes.
Did she weigh on him? No more she than he. They were of one. The skin on her face faded and her long fingers grasped his warm, worn jersey.  The news waiting her – Does she know? a shallow pool of tan on her cheek.
Warm brown on brown in a room of planned lilacs and soft music.  No sorrow there. As we sat in our inward lives, the youth held the old woman in his lap, and loudly they chuckled about things at home, and what he might cook for her tonight when they returned, so tired.  Chicken and dumplings, and some kale and honey biscuits, she whispered, but we all heard and laughed with both of them.
We each were called, in time.  Her time was coming, but he carried her.  A young man, big boned, wide smile, eyes on a slight bird who needed him that day and tomorrow, too.

You too were were called in time. 
The carrying was the best part.