The longleaf pine inverted
and snagged into the surrounding forest
like a treble hook hung on a cast
before it ever hits the water.
The pond rippled in the rain of needles,
and we cleared out a while
to figure how to re-rope
the trunk and not get killed.
I rattled up the valley side
in our seventy-five-hundred
and answered the phone first ring
and heard Moosie’s voice hang,
too, and I knew it was back
in her mother’s breast, disease
like a beetle set on taking down
the whole woodland of her body.
For months, I was nothing
but oxblood skin and gray hair,
saw horses and Skilsaws
and black acid dip spit,
and then she was nothing the earth
did not want back:
red alder and maple, wood
buried in wood. My bones
were hickory––when would they be
broken? I told my son-in-law,
the day he married, a wife’s body
is water reflecting you upright in the sky.
Will Justice Drake lives in north Alabama, where he teaches English literature and coaches soccer. His poems and articles have appeared or are forthcoming in the Dead Mule School of Southern Literature, Trinity House Review, Poetry South, Raleigh Review, Negative Capability, and other publications. He received his MFA from North Carolina State University. Twitter: @thewilljustice; IG: @willjusticedrake