Protection Bricking the house against the happy jaws of wolves, my father and his tawny hired man, backs drawn deep in conspiracy, slapped mortar onto trowels, eyes migrating to as distance beyond clouds. Heat swam around them, requiring the huge delusion of some believable project to produce it. Neither spokeContinue Reading

While sifting through his library the other day, our own Edward Francisco found this gifted poem (below) written by George Scarbrough entitled “The Kitchen.”   The Kitchen Broad planks laid on the raw clay Composed the floor. Some had cupped At edges, others at ends, so one made A higgledy-piggledyContinue Reading

Their similarities were keen enough to define an archetype of the Appalachian writer at mid-20th century. Their differences were such as to make each a singular talent. Jesse Stuart, James Still, and George Scarbrough knew one another and admired each other’s work. All possessed shared experiences of growing up onContinue Reading

1. You and I lived nowhere by the river among the frogs, mushrooms, and flowers that flourished beside the sidewalks of our neighborhood. In the light of moon against the southern trees blowing in wind from the west, Your phone and my face glowed as we talked about what weContinue Reading

My grandson, Joshua Bathe, passed away last April after being diagnosed with an aggressive cancer five months earlier. The following is my poetic tribute to him.             Elegy to a Grandson           Grief undulates           like an inchworm           and just as slowly.           It forces one to use           the conditional tense:             HeContinue Reading

Betty Brewer was my great-aunt, though only four days older than my mother. I never knew Betty. She died before I was born, killed by a jealous wife who caught her husband and Betty in a lover’s tryst at a boarding house rented by the day. Family spoke of BettyContinue Reading

This short poem was written some years ago when my daughter first started riding the bus to school. Nowadays, she is definitely unmoored from my hand but hasn’t washed out to sea (yet). The neighbor’s chairs (see photo) were cast off to parts unknown. Two Chairs Fading Each day onContinue Reading

Alvin Goins was a day laborer living in Rhea County, Tennessee, during the early and mid-years of the twentieth century. He was a Melungeon, a descendant of Portuguese ancestry. He was also illiterate. Yet, he had an extraordinary gift for numbers, able to calculate sums mentally in seconds, qualifying him,Continue Reading

     The ornaments on my Christmas tree      tell the story of my life.      Fisherman for Mamaw hangs      at the top,      she’s gone now, but      that man smiles like she did      when she saw me opening my gifts.      Red hope, an ornament for losing her      and remembering her a year later      whenContinue Reading

— From Death, Child, & Love: Poems 1980-2000 Last night while trimming our Christmas tree my son pointed out how I’d not written many poems lately to which I replied, “It’s true. But sometimes life is more prose than poetry. Do you understand?” A stupid question considering what he’d justContinue Reading