As for yes I’ve been against it
since ballet & I refused to leap
like a little white flag in the gym
& I refused to skate on blades
if there was ice which there was not
& I refused to ride in the backs of trucks
& did not kill my mother & father
& did not not want to either
& did not wear red bandannas
or gyrate with tassel & baton
in the Jesus parade or go door to door
with The Old Farmer’s Almanac
or curl my hair except for that
one blue summer after the 7th grade
or talk with other girls about how
to fix my face or go with them
to the mall to steal bikinis there
or just lean hot against a swanky pillar
until a cowboy came by if “cowboy”
is the right word for southwest Virginia
since there were no priests back then
in the motherland. There’s just lichen
now in the motherland. Just lichen
& other forms of algae in the motherland
& vines & moss in the graveyards
of the motherland whereas before
at least in Bristol there was Valleydale Foods
& hence wild gangs of handsome butchers
who’d knock on your door on Sundays
to see if you wanted any hog meat
for the freezer you didn’t have in your basement
like the God you didn’t have down there either
but just crickets & webs & things gone flat
like the tires on the bikes you didn’t ride
& the tubes you didn’t float slow
saying yes O yes down that olden river on.

Adrian Blevins’ third full-length collection of poems, Appalachians Run Amok, won Two Sylvia Press' Wilder Prize. She teaches at Colby College in Waterville, Maine.

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