Issue Five

Autumn 2012


Before the Flood


The boys would bring in wood
planks Saturday nights to cover
up the damp earth as girls mended
muslin skirts and stained their
mouths a brighter hue and despite
the fiddle’s irresponsible lilt
they were not a godless people
nor shiftless, for their mountains did
not move themselves but had to be
blasted coal crumb by coal crumb,
and every ear of corn coaxed.
Once the goat woman stood tall
in her garden and there amidst her
flourishing string bean announced
there is no god and they stoned her
but not before weaving a crown
of blue morning glory for her 
brow as she was being carried
past her confusion for they
were thoughtful like that.

No one gossiped much there,
no gloating breast puffed out
like the toads’ throats stretched
to the painful verge of translucence
there at the creek, for everyone was
evil, but walking around redeemed.
Lamb’s blood in the odds and ends
store’s bins of nails and thread, lamb’s
blood on the handles of Lynette’s
beauty parlor golden scissors sign,
lamb’s blood sealing glass jars of
cool white milk left every Monday
in a wire basket by the stoop.

So everything flourished, children’s
cheeks the most darling hue of apple
til the first drop of rain.
An old barn door’s dilapidated latch
and hinge one last hymn for the
nettle and water. Sting and roar.



Jenn Blair



peacock fractal