A Sylvan Sonnet
[Tug Valley / 1860 – 1911]
Red Oak, Pin Oak, Basswood, Hackberry, Beech,
Hickory, Hornbeam, Magnolia, Madder.
Whip-Poor-Will, Barn Swallow, Eastern Phoebe.
Bald Cypress, Elm, Sumac, Juniper.
Hop Tree, Chestnut Oak, Yellow Birch, Red Spruce.
Pine Sisken, Killdeer, Orchard Oriole.
Red Maple, Sycamore, Prickly Ash, Rue,
Sugar Maple, Storax, Sopadilla.
Kudzu, Silvergrass, Knotweed, Musk Thistle.
Silverbell, Scrub Pine, Black Locust, Hemlock,
Trumpet Creeper, Willow, Honeysuckle.
Turkey Vulture, Indigo Bunting, Crow.
Cottonwood, Laurel, Tuliptree, White Pine.
Winged Euonymus, Tree of Heaven.
Recollections: Alifair McCoy
[Blackberry Fork, Kentucky / 1 January 1888]
The fire –
poling a scow
at camp –
& every ounce
as I open
a few more
graze my face
like too many
[Tug Valley / 31 January 1888]
Peace has been temporarily declared, but it is feared by the law-abiding people of the two counties that hostilities will be renewed after a great while.
– Colonel W. L. Mahan, Report on Conditions in Logan County
That peace done
broke; the feud
resumes. You never
know how heavily
that silence did
loom. It wasn’t
in every house,
in every room,
for far too long.
If one too many
times, a man’s faith
is tested, his will
an angry boil,
he will fester
& fume. When
Fates loose loyal
a parent’s loving
grasp too soon, all
Heaven & Earth
will be consumed.
A native of Eastern Kentucky, Jay McCoy now lives in Lexington, Kentucky, where he manages a book shop and teaches writing classes. He holds an MFA in Creative Writing from EKU Bluegrass Writers Studio. Jay co-founded the Teen Howl Poetry Series in 2011 as an open mic performance outlet for younger Lexington-area poets. His work has appeared in several journals and anthologies. His chapbook, The Occupation, was published by Accents Publishing in 2015.