Academic journal article Southern Quarterly

The Beginning

Academic journal article Southern Quarterly

The Beginning

Article excerpt

More than once I've slowed a dream

and slowed its continuing, nearly

to stillness, my hand held in the air,

to notice I'm walking along the spine

of a cold ridge in a Kentucky county.

The wind is coming from all directions

at once and sharply, but I know

this is a necessary gloom.

I'd taken a log-track at first

to climb, and following up had passed

a bank of snow the sun had failed

to find, but the track gave out, and a more

meandering, delicate path resumed.

The track, created for one pursuit,

had flattened and copied the path so far

and made the way more logical,

but logic has an end-it ends

in the woods, it ends inside a dream.

It ends in a tragic comedy

when it meets the original world.

I found an empty house one time

in the woods above an old stream

called Hanging Fork. The door was open

and the glass in the windows looked wet

from gleaming and blue-green jars

still lined a shelf. A wardrobe held

a dress and a man's blue suit and the floor

held level and looked recently swept.

People had lived there once, but left,

and left a long time before.

The order of their lives was plain,

but the ending of that order gave

the chill that it must have come swiftly,

and that, which I felt from a dark faith

in feeling, was plainer still, as plain

as the pencil stub I found jammed

between the sashes of a window

to cease its rattle in the wind. …

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