Here in the holler, we tap our mouths

to warm our hands, a rugged edge of teeth

exposed between foggy slips of breath.


All winter our joints ache

and our bodies think of leaving

in ways only ancestors could understand.


Without a trace of irony or blush of shame,

we’ll pull the pickup over, watch the foothills

turn russet at sunset, talk to clouds


through February, to the earth come spring,

sit front and center to a weave of nest

set to hatch its crooners, tears in our eyes,


press hellbent into the great why of summer.

All that matters is the heat, the harvests,

prayers for rain—little we or the plants can do


but endure. When the mulberries cease

their fruiting and maples go kamikaze red,

we plow down the cornfields, gardens, too,


don our flannel, ponder our shrinking

frames, bones calcifying, same way

a crusted plow rusts itself back to nature.