Road Side Truck.jpg

Rob Amberg, Roadside Stand, U.S. 23 North at Mars Hill, 1998.
Courtesy of the Artist.

by Ron Rash

Two weeks without frost will bloom
trout lily and bloodroot while
sun soaking through gorge-rocks stirs
the gorgon heads underneath,
unknotting, rising through veins
in granite, split tongues tasting
bright air, divining heat-spill
where outcrops pool the noon sun
and I come with my snake stick,
work my way upridge. They pay
by the foot, those handlers who
lift these snakes on Sunday nights,
holy fools, I call them though
I was too, before four years
away at Bible College,
schooling they helped pay for so
I could better learn the Word,
learned instead the world, returned
a felled angel, my God now
a bottle of Jack Daniels
held like prayer, my service
work I find when someone needs
barbed wire strung up, sheet rock hung,
whatever else gets the bills
in Randy Davidson’s hand,
liquor rising behind him
like Jacob’s Ladder, the ring
of his register sweeter
than a preacher’s altar call.
Serpents pay best, satinbacks
old folks call them, big ones sell
for thirty dollars, so springs
I climb this ridge, always hear
the hum of resurrection

     Hub City Press October 2011