Excerpt from C.D. Albin's AXE, FIRE, MULE
- Category: Excerpts from Our Books
- Published: Sunday, 18 March 2018 03:11
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C.D. Albin's new book of poetry, Axe, Fire, Mule, will be out next month. Here are two of its 52 poems. For more about the author, see our Author page.
Speck of Shine
Run a gun-and-pawn like the
Pair-a-Dice and you’ll see most
anything. This morning came
a woman with her daughter,
neither bigger than a whip.
The daughter’s face was framed by
bird’s nest hair her mama swept
behind one ear, revealing
a speck of shine in the lobe.
Pure gold, she swore. What’ll
you give? The girl cupped her ear,
hissed about a boy, a gift,
but the mother slapped away
the protecting hand. Your sign
says cash for gold. How much this?
I thought to close, claim sickness,
but the girl cursed, set the stud
on the counter and banged out
the door. Her mother stepped near.
You’ve got a slick price in mind.
I slid five ones near her reach,
stared at the place where she snatched
the bills. Then I worked a cloth
back and forth across that spot.
A wilderness . . . is hereby recognized
as an area where the earth and its
community of life are untrammeled
by man, where man himself
is a visitor who does not remain.
The Wilderness Act of 1964
They wed a priest’s dream to their own and so
purchased parcels of Missouri’s wild land
along the Eleven Point because they
could afford no better. Now we burnish
tales of their vanishing into legend,
gaze upon the great second growth forest
that remains, and shiver for newcomers
who dare enter, nodding to each other
when they lose their way and must be rescued
by locals on mountain ponies. We fail
to remember how our lank ancestors
cleared the first forest in a violence
of axes that echoed the war years when
bushwhackers lived to loot and burn, their paths
swaths of fire that sent entire towns into
exile, Irish pioneers suddenly
remade into refugees fleeing charred
homesteads and war-wild hearts of their neighbors.