Gail Tyson

Old-Time Round

This deck’s a drumskin beneath Maggie’s tail,
her ear cocked to the sweet harmonica moan
of sap rising, phlox and bare-root iris
fiddling in the rock garden, love cresting

in our tones. She hears the ramps plucking
at the flinty soil, lichen piping on the brook
and sapphires deep down, dark as bass notes.
Nose twitching to a highland beat, she keeps time

with her ancestral pack, while butterflies
tremble like mandolins and rain quickens,
turning our tin roof into a snare drum,
the rhythm of belonging in this place.

Tonight the boys will be pickin’ to the score
of stars, white notes on a sable pelt so wide,
and sipping Scottish communion
until the moon slips sideways. For now

ballads are bridging from pines to maples,
the gravel road curling, curling.


Gail Tyson writes at her log cabin in the Cherokee National Forest of East Tennessee, two miles from the Cherohala Skyway. Recently her poetry and prose have appeared in ArtAscent, Kindred, Pilgrimage, and Still Point Arts Quarterly. She treasures the craftsmanship and community cultivated by the Cumberland Gap Writers Studio.


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