Still Literary Contest Judge's Selection: S. Cook Stanforth


S. Cook Stanforth is a creative writing professor at Thomas More College who also teaches ethnic and environmental literatures, and folklore.  Her work appears or is forthcoming in Motif 3: All the Livelong Day, Pine Mountain Sand & Gravel, Anthology of Appalachian Writers Volume II, Indiana Review, MELUS, Language and Lore and NCTE books.  To keep on the sunny side, she regionally performs Appalachian folk music.  She designs ecology-based programs, hikes, collects bugs, studies the plants of her mountain heritage and raises many children.



Lost Claims


Mica glitters in the driveway’s
red ruts, snowbush heads
bow down, brush the dust
peppering windows, tables,
every corner of the place.
“My heart’s gone thick,” she says,
picking burrs from Old Ted’s
scruff.  “The beat's off pace
and once I’m three hours dead
they’ll storm this hill to take
this land.”  I ask her why,
claim that I don’t understand.
I note the boundary line,
her trees—pin cherry,
hemlock, one suffering ash
split by lightning years ago.
“That’s yours, Aunt Ruth.”
Still she says “No,” and smiles,
smacks the dog’s coarse rump
ordering him to steer clean away
from prickle vines and trouble.
I argue—but I think I know
that hemlock waits to be
a stump, her house and yard
a history gone to rubble . . .