By Michael D. Youth
He fought once for the bareknuckle title
in a hay-strewn ring; emerged
to occupy the eye
of a flashbulb lightning storm.
The world spiraling about.
When a fortnight later
(The old man had finally lost it
gnawed the palms out of his work gloves)
A body boxed
his mother eulogized
the old man,
the September burying.
at an empty table
at the rolling untilled
Always in the eyes now, tiredness,
a desire for end, completion, sleep;
wearing that internal stamp, the mark of rage
subsided, the still calm deep
of a field of wheat, windblown at dusk,
By Jessica M. Sampley
My daddy and I used to ride up and down that old Wilson Bend Road–
Him at the wheel of our ’77 burnt orange Ford truck,
with a gun rack on the window behind his head.
Me in the back, behind the doghouse, close to the glass,
sitting on my throne, the spare tire.
Him in his brown hunting coveralls–
worn with quail-blood black stains.
Me in my new camouflage coveralls and matching sneakers,
hair braided halfway down my back.
We’d stop by Travis’s for two glass bottles of Mountain Dew,
then the screen door would slam behind me
on my run-and-jump over the side into the back.
Greasy tools, empty bottles, a tackle box, and dirty rags
were scattered around my feet.
Daddy would ask if I was too cold,
I’d just shake my head, continuing on,
oblivious to the freezing cold air
that reddened my cheeks and made my eyes water.
He was thinking thoughts unknown to me,
content with his Mountain Dew, Pall-Malls, and 104.7–
all day country, all day long.
And we’d drive on,
past winter-naked oaks and hickories
down a forgotten log road into the north Alabama woods,
looking for the most secluded field–
where the biggest birds would be.