What was it for the longest time but lore, lure;
A heard-tell growing gold in the mind.
Word said (and word’d spread) it was well on back
Through the underwood by Bowen’s Canal.
Past convoluted trees there’s claydirt, a clear patch.
A (rife) clearing.
Right where understory comes to grief entire—
Grubble this way head-down
Belly-down claw through clingburrs as a creature.
Cross (fret-morass and canebrake) and pass.
Where springs not fail
Canes not break nor welt on backs of leg
Green cresses plait
No plaque of heated iron scathes
(Nor noose, nor knives)
Articulated scapes arise
Always the story-man lights lard-lamps in a circle and tells.
A boy scrapes and ever-graves for likeness with a stick.
Two girls croodle corn-songs cane-songs back and forth unbroken.
Once-bent bodies leap (in chorus) leg and whirl.
Source: Poetry (September 2009).
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This poem originally appeared in the September 2009 issue of Poetry magazine