taking everything with them but their spirits
for their spirits wouldn’t leave that place—Jim Wayne Miller
Landform region: as in plateau, the gradual descent
into valley floor where my grandfather drank himself to death
Climate: no longer a spring, no longer a fall. The frost maps are changing.
Mountain range: our own. Blue declivity sliding into sky. This is where they converge.
Erosion: what our own hearts give. She died last week.
Prairie: something I’ve never seen, except in novels and National Geographics.
Grasses roll forever. Laura watches the last Cherokee.
Environment: a tenuous string of spittle.
Inlet: warm water washes between two islands that won’t be here in a 100 years.
Gulf: hurricanes gestate here, over the city of horns, fragile as a second line.
Sound: crab pieces, black mud. Say, Pamlico. Wide and funky as our Father’s heart.
Tributary: Smith, Roanoke, Pigg, Black, Little Otter, and The Dan. Jennings Creek:
all following the lay of the land, all having slid around the ankles of the living and the dead.
River System: picture the heart muscle, sluiced by love.
Drainage Basin: my father is a plumber.
Fall Line: Located somewhere south, toward home.
Annie Woodford lives in Roanoke, Virginia where she teaches English at a community college. Her poetry has appeared or is forthcoming in Appalachian Heritage, Appalachian Journal, Tar River Poetry, Town Creek Poetry, and Prairie Schooner, among others. She received a scholarship to attend the 2016 Appalachian Writers’ Workshop at the Hindman Settlement School in Kentucky.
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