I may be breathless in pine
or ash sprinkled on the winds
by my child or, with luck, hers.
She will cast a spell for wings.
My ancestors’ stone-steep fields
will gather their seeds of hearths.
The skies will crack, raining charms
for creeks of obsidian
to cushion my long descent,
exile gone and forgotten
but where the winds lay me down.
Absent rivers turning course,
the metal hand of supply
and demand will burrow nails
rusty as ancient rake tines
tighter around my windpipe.
The day will come when lichen
and laurel suffer the squeeze.
Meanwhile I’ll spell Hollow Block
and on the mountain passes
I’ll only be passing through,
a breeze reeking of subways
and crowds, unsure of its feet.
Michael Dowdy was born and raised in the mountains of southwest Virginia. He is an assistant professor at Hunter College of the City University of New York, where he teaches American poetry and Latino literature. He has published a chapbook (The Coriolis Effect, Bright Hill Press) and received a Pushcart Prize nomination. His poems appear or are forthcoming in Aethlon, Crab Orchard Review, J Journal, Kestrel, Main Street Rag, Now & Then, and Pembroke Magazine, among other places. His scholarly works include an article on Appalachian Latino writing in Appalachian Journal and a book on Latino poetry forthcoming from the University of Arizona Press.