Appalachian Twilight


Car rinsed off, yard trimmed, green beans broken—
Saturday's supper is settling in each
and all of us with tranquility. One grandson
floats in the bathtub under a bubble
blanket. The baby is bathed in the kitchen
sink as Mammaw wistfully sings out:

Twilight is falling over the sea,
Shadows are gathering dark on the lee…

Daddaw snores, bare-bellied, chin in hand,
on the back porch—Sunday-School lesson
slipping out of his fingers, unfinished.
Mimosa-perfumed dream unto dream
drifts upward through the midsummer sky
with the cicadas' incessant cadences
registering their verse darkly within.

As a new storm drops vengeance to the west,
the air thickens with the character
of this evening; a guinea hen's squawk
snaps clear across the broad silent Holston—
South and North Forks merged and flowing south.
Here beneath these vine-tangled sycamores
has many a precious promise been borne
and many buried with the moist swollen sun
nestled behind blue ridges.

      Kingsport, Tennessee