Slavery and bears do not impede
folk life in Madison County
The men still ask, Are you from away”?
The women often announce, You’re not from around here?
What they do for a living
is family style, is by the book.
Is none of my bid'ness.
They have a joy-free smoke,
a homemade drink.
Unlike the bears, what they do is
us and them, is don’t bend, is done
in a pond, on the river, in the pasture,
may be done with a long gun.
The Ozarks This Wnter Turned Off Hot
This winter everyone sweats. Women don’t sweat, they glow.
said my Auntie, who died at seventy,
a spinster who only had one lover—
ever. When folks talk about
“the wisdom of age,” they sometime mean
“the wisdom of persistence,”
persistence being more worthy than
understanding which barely
comes to us no matter our age.
The Good News
The good news is it’s months before the dust settles
on the hillside maze and midden.
The good news is the drive
through Nail, Low Gap, Murray and Swain.
The good news is the on the same side of the mountain,
sequestered in the bermudee grass.
The good news elsewhere is the gray pines’ bent silhouettes,
in manzanita, and madrone.
The good news is that the bad news doesn’t last.
Wendy Taylor Carlisle lives and writes in the Arkansas Ozarks. She is the 2020 winner of the Phillip H. McMath Post-Publication Award for The Mercy of Traffic and this spring, Doubleback Books reprinted her 2008 book, Discount Fireworks, available free at: Doubleback Books. Her website is www.wendytaylorcarlisle.com. Photo by Greg Comnes.