Mark W. Kidd lives at the base of Pine Mountain in East Kentucky, where he pursues interests in community media, regional arts, and the natural and built environments.
against the talons
Seen them boys round the schoolhouse,
sheriff wont do nothin, and
messin round them works at portal 7
–liable to get killt!
I’ve met the culprits
–his cousin’s scrapyard.
and I can picture that flatbed throbbing below:
stage whisper DAMN
then shadows clang down the hill,
one taillight shrugs up Flints Gap.
My first block
tore loose, hand-drill squealing,
its steel flashed sun in my eyes
as I bore down
to where I could pry the rock.
Lime chalk seeped around my mask,
its paste thick on my tongue and lips –
This first time
I grabbed at the bit to steady it,
fire lit my nerves
red blisters blooming on my palm.
But I kept to the work,
learning the low whistle of steady boring
through whitened knuckles.
I cut man-deep through the strata,
each layer's fossil fingerprint cleft,
shearing stone pulsing through the quarry
when the pinch bar freed another block.
I do not know limestone,
in my hands was metal,
in my eyes nose mouth
She dozes, storm clouds shading and revealing
their home at the top of the road,
fitful shadows beneath the kitchen fan,
its menthol wreath:
a pack spent watching for the drought-buster.
Cheek smudged across the newsprint,
those widely published accounts of the crisis,
dated, paper-clipped to JULY for his old box:
precipitation from ’58,
highs and lows from ’65,
tall numerals, meteorological certainties
etched across insurance calendars.
The fan blade click-click is slate against the spade,
a rumble echoes up the holler –
She wakes for the last rain,
tomatoes panting nightshade tang
as the storm drums adagio on towards the east.
In the yard, veiny leaves whisper
the green chemistry of reconciliation
into the mist.