Special Issues » Poetry Contest

"Pine and Hunting Season"

Honorable Mention

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Pine
By Michael D. Youth
He fought once for the bareknuckle title
in a hay-strewn ring; emerged
to occupy the eye
of a flashbulb lightning storm.
The world spiraling about.

When a fortnight later
word came
(The old man had finally lost it
gone insane,
gnawed the palms out of his work gloves)

he distracted
caught a
left
and fell.

A body boxed
and dropped
to earth,

just so,
his mother eulogized
the old man,
summarized
the September burying.

Sitting ever
at an empty table
looking fixedly
out
at the rolling untilled
acreage.

Always in the eyes now, tiredness,
age,
a desire for end, completion, sleep;
wearing that internal stamp, the mark of rage
subsided, the still calm deep
of a field of wheat, windblown at dusk,
unreaped,
waiting.

Hunting Season
By Jessica M. Sampley

My daddy and I used to ride up and down that old Wilson Bend Road--
Him at the wheel of our '77 burnt orange Ford truck,
with a gun rack on the window behind his head.
Me in the back, behind the doghouse, close to the glass,
sitting on my throne, the spare tire.
Him in his brown hunting coveralls--
worn with quail-blood black stains.
Me in my new camouflage coveralls and matching sneakers,
hair braided halfway down my back.

We'd stop by Travis's for two glass bottles of Mountain Dew,
then the screen door would slam behind me
on my run-and-jump over the side into the back.
Greasy tools, empty bottles, a tackle box, and dirty rags
were scattered around my feet.
Daddy would ask if I was too cold,
I'd just shake my head, continuing on,
oblivious to the freezing cold air
that reddened my cheeks and made my eyes water.
He was thinking thoughts unknown to me,
content with his Mountain Dew, Pall-Malls, and 104.7--
all day country, all day long.

And we'd drive on,
past winter-naked oaks and hickories
down a forgotten log road into the north Alabama woods,
looking for the most secluded field--
where the biggest birds would be.

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