L. Ward Abel, poet, composer and performer of music, teacher, retired lawyer, lives in rural Georgia, has been published in print and online in such places as The Reader, Snow Jewel, Indian Review, Versal, Yale Angler’s Journal, Istanbul Review, Ha!Art, and others, and is the author of nine chapbooks and one full collection of poetry, including Peach Box and Verge (Little Poem Press, 2003), Jonesing For Byzantium (UKA Press, 2006), The Heat of Blooming (Pudding House Press, 2008), American Bruise (Parallel Press, 2012), Little Town gods (Folded Word Press, 2016), A Jerusalem of Ponds (erbacce-Press, 2016), and Digby Roundabout (Kelsay Books, 2017).
The road between Monticello
and Yankeetown rolls empty
like the sea level woods crowding it.
Even in the day you drive with head-
lights on as not to wing a deer, hawk,
Chevy truck or distracted hat.
On one stretch there’s nobody, the big
bend just beyond. So at night it’s no
place to be.
Way off you can see the cooling towers:
two floodlit steaming sea cows who watch,
their eyes just above tide.
A few miles in, the blacktop cools
but not enough to use the passing lane.
And all side roads have no turnarounds.
Those on the right find water. Taillights
are red stars miles ahead. Tonight
they fade like the reasons they came.
Doves in red cedar safe
from themselves. The
water varies from pool to
shower to incorporeal shade.
Near the cupid-stone placed
is pink marble for sitting
bright in the spates it soaks
the redshift coo.
Doves wait for rain.
No one will shoot them
for now. A raking floods
across country between
here and Alabama
slow below the crest.
One more wave they say
and the teeming like carrion
The snow’s almost gone now.
The ground rises to meet both oaks.
Dotted white their hidden sides
are shadows pouring out across
our floor. Look at my hands my feet,
they’re ragged. I prefer low sun
to cold and places south to north.
The benevolent Gulf. Even from here
I feel those shallows.
There’s a thought I have about
walking the property in each
of the seasons. I’d sit on the marble bench
in its almost-room, walls of branches
a grotto-place where deer sleep.
Then I’d walk the path around periphery
and see it leads back to me. The me
who’ll walk here only after