Biking Cades Cove

Biking Cades Cove, Tennessee, with My Husband, Seven Years Married

Last week, a man dislocated
both shoulders, bashed his head
on the asphalt loop that heaves
its hills through this settler’s valley.

The park road is blocked off, vacationing
bikers lined up for bikes rented by the hour,
with the duct-tape and split seam seats
of anything without a single owner,
never truly loved.

It isn’t the speed, but the curves
taken at such a speed,
the park volunteers warn us.

On the narrow road, we glide between
families, past cherry trees
ripped apart by black bears foraging,
past a church for each denomination.
When the hills grow too steep,
we walk them together.

Developers carved out the settler’s
cabins from their recesses in the forest
into the blonde grasses of the fields.
Floorboards are worn as stones.
Surrounding signs ask us to refrain
from carving our names.

The white clapboard Primitive Baptist
church hosts deer grazing in the modest
cemetery out back, stepping more elegant
than we do, ghosts among the markers.

from Threshing Floor (Jacar Press)

writing while grieving

I am starting to write again, after losing our unborn son Shepherd a few months ago. It has been slow going–a few minutes here and there, a long, very long, time spent on a single poem. Writing has always been a helpful way for me to process and take note of my emotions, to process what happened, to understand it. But I have found myself avoiding it for a few months, not ready to get back into it again. I didn’t actually–it came back to me in the waiting room for a follow up appointment. There have been so many times I have said, Well, now is the time I will stop writing, but it does always come back.

new poem in Cumberland River Review

You can read my poem Night Vigil in the latest issue of Cumberland River Review; this poem is about the last night I spent with my daughter Kit before she was removed from life support (about two years ago exactly). It is an intensely emotional and personal poem for me–it touches on but can’t completely tell you what that experience was like. Some things are beyond poetry.