In a Southeast Corner of the County
Horse creek after rain. Somebody’s bright idea
to take the Chrevrolet across. Truck bed
scrunched down under the weight of umpteen souls
who’ve never heard of Styx or what occurs
there in the underworld.
And what will change
if they cross or don’t cross, if halfway there
the tires dredge deep and spin and spin with little
headway, gravel churning from the fenders?
They’ll rock the truck bed while the driver guns
the gas. They’ll hoop and holler in the glee
of getting nowhere—as they’ve always done—
though, truthfully, their ruckus might be song
set back so far no one will ever hear it lift
or, later, fall back to a drift of leaves.
Jeff Hardin is the author of two chapbooks, Deep in the Shallows (GreenTower Press) and The Slow Hill Out (Pudding House), as well as two collections, Fall Sanctuary, recipient of the Nicholas Roerich Prize from Story Line Press, and Notes for a Praise Book, selected by Toi Derricotte for the Jacar Press Book Award. His third collection, Restoring the Narrative, is forthcoming in 2015. His poems have appeared in The New Republic, The Hudson Review, The Southern Review, Southwest Review, The Gettysburg Review, Poetry Northwest, Hotel Amerika, Southern Poetry Review, Meridian, and elsewhere. He teaches at Columbia State Community College in Columbia, Tenn.