Off the interstate, light shines through the clean plate glass windows of a McDonald’s, where a whole soccer teams sits, profiles pure flame.
The country slumbers, a majesty of plastic, Thursday evening traffic. (The commute, the commute and then to bed soon.)
Ellijay, Blue Jay as Quiet Bird
A child with a cauliflower ear tilts his head closer, listening to his iPad.
You never know who keeps a gun close to the hip, the chest, the breast.
Helicopters chop above green breakers, the pot harvest’s purple heat picked up by infrared cameras. In dry counties, boys who still have down on their cheeks contemplate their fathers’ 44s.
In the South, there is a mythos of reservoirs.
Seeking the Dead
Sometimes, the wind will blow through just one tree, its shuffled leaves singing while everything else is quiet.
Seasoned White Cedar
Many mid-century decoys were made from light poles. Carvers liked the tough wood saturated with creosote, the way they could hack out of it the wide bow of a goose’s body destined to slap black water, seas of birds passing over.
Goldenrod hides the small green jewel of a wasp, a new species where once there were honeybees. A last stand of hemlocks looks over the cabins of rich Atlantans, spidery white adelgid spreading.
In the intervening years web worms stretch silk. A grasshopper once spat tobacco juice on your hand.
Things People Can’t Name Anymore
Sometimes you can hear a creek running down in a thicket. You know there’s water there, but you can’t see it.
Annie Woodford is the author of Bootleg (Groundhog Poetry Press, 2019), a runner-up for the 2020 Weatherford Award for Appalachian Poetry. Her poetry has appeared or is forthcoming in The Anthology of Appalachian Writers, Epoch, Pine Mountain Sand & Gravel, and Southern HumanitiesReview, among others.Originally from Bassett, Virginia—a mill town near the North Carolina border—she now lives in Deep Gap, North Carolina and teaches community college English.
Header photo by digidreamgrafix, courtesy Shutterstock. Photo of Annie Woodward by Hillary Robinson.