Blue Ridge highway in black and white

One Poem by Annie Woodford

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Quiet as It’s Kept

after Toni Morrison
 

Rising Fawn

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.

 
Concealed Carry

You never know who keeps a gun close
to the hip, the chest, the breast.

 
Ideation

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.

 
Sunken Cities

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.

 
Colony Collapse

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.

 
Wild Cherries

In the intervening years web worms stretch silk.
A grasshopper once spat tobacco juice on your hand.

 
Things People Can’t Name Anymore

  1. Kudzu
  2. Katydids
  3. Chicken Hawks

 
Springhead

Sometimes you can hear a creek
running down in a thicket.
You know there’s water there,
but you can’t see it.

 

 

 

Annie WoodfordAnnie 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 Humanities Review, 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.

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