by Ron Rash

The road is now a shadow
of a road, overgrown with
scrub pine, blackjack oak. Years back
one of my kinsmen logged here,
a man needing steady work
no hailstorm or August drought
could take away, so followed
Spillcorn Creek into the gorge,
brought with him a mule and sled,
a Colt revolver to kill
the rattlesnakes, and always
tucked in his lunch sack a book:
history, sometimes novel
from the Marshall library,
so come midday he might rest
his spine against bark and read—
what had roughed his hands now smooth
as his fingertips turned
the leaves, each word whispered soft
as the wind reading the trees.

     Hub City Press, October 2011