PoetrySpring 2020

Edgeland – Pierce Clifford Brown

    Fog, cold-pressed, comes
across the fields.

This early, the fog
spreads itself thick,

sloping into the shape of a fear
without antecedent.

As children
we read about Paul Bunyon’s

second cousin, Tony Beaver West Virginian
who walked the length of now

abandoned towns, long-limbed,
across the Appalachians

before they were harvested, these hills,
mined like organs for a black market,

our father repeating his father:
even giants never live forever,

these hills
distant before my eyes

withdrawing into themselves.
Each layer of rock tells a different tall tale.

A teacher once told me the Appalachians may have been
some of the first mountains,

located in the center of Pangea,
elongate belts of folded and thrust

faulted marine sedimentary rocks,
volcanic, slivers of ancient
ocean floor,
that world whose plates shifted and would not hold

as nothing holds,
as all things return to being

fragments that are, themselves, whole —
return, in the way I am returning

to my village near the coal mines.


Pierce Clifford Brown is a writer and translator. He currently lives in Washington, DC.

The author: John Carter

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