Bill King

Postcard from the Tygart

The Tygart’s cold.  Smallmouth 
sit, not ready to be nesting.
But soon I’ll see the big males spin
craters near the bank.  They’ll  

turn and twirl their tiger stripes,
nose cobble for a perimeter—
quail egg size or even bigger—
spit pea gravel in the middle.

I don’t know what’s finer 
than pre-fishing for some flowers—
trout lilies spring from flood-wet 
sand.  They burst their yellow stars.

Turn. You’ve flushed a goose’s nest. 
Wing-bats echo in the holler.


Postcard to My Boy at Sweet Sixteen

My body is a cenotaph
rooted to the floor, sensate,
burning, not routing cancer— 
raging through each door.

I cannot process fast enough,
while trying to slow down—
each word you fashion. You’re
so much faster than before.

I try to hold you with my eyes—
the angles of your face.
There’s no way to tell you 
everything—so let’s fall 

into this hug.  Which cannot stand,
I know, but does just what it should.


Postcard Sabbath Song

Starlings sing a song
of crosses—skim low
across a sea.  A sea of 
pavement I cross unsocked—

their sweet whistle beguiling 
me. They land. I follow.
I close the gap—but up 
they flock again.  Then stop, 

talk shop—of what?  Who knows? 
They’re at the end of the block
pecking in cracks for something 
I can not see.   Then they rise, 

top trees, and sing again— 
of what might come, or be.


Postcard on Time 

I’ll move along, quickly now— 
time’s a fickle date.  This last’s
on all that stands with me 
in the middle of this yard. 

Maple’s got a crown of blooms
with bees that buzz inside. Green-
gold’s above, purple below—violets, 
columbine.  Toad trills in his mirror.

Sparrows share a home-made box.
Chatter, “Hey man, aren’t you done?”
while nesting on old bones. “Not quite,” 
I say, though I’ve circumscribed 

the corners of this space.  It’s small, 
I know, but much more than I can say.


Bill King is a 1990 graduate of the MA program in creative writing at the University of Georgia and teaches creative writing and literature at Davis & Elkins College, in Elkins, West Virginia. His recent work appears in Kestrel, Appalachian Heritage, A Narrow Fellow Journal of Poetry, Poecology, as well as other journals and anthologies. 


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