Sunday mornings, there are men who take
young sons to the river and start
tying lures, casting, and drinking beer
before the sun rises. They strap life-
jackets on them after lunch and send
the boys scrambling upstream to float
back into their arms. They tell them,
“Further. Run up ’til you hit the bend.”
By then the sun has lowered over the trees,
and each boy squats alone for a moment
in the last patch of light. Dead fish drift
against the bank; unopened beer-cans float
silently past, caught in the current;
and somewhere inside, each boy feels a buckled
bridge that teenagers hurl themselves from.
Then the boy is by himself running
over the sharp stones. He will go far
enough this time, and though he can’t swim,
he will paddle to the middle, further even
than he was told to go. Further than
the week-end before when he saw him last.
Past the bend, he throws himself in, lies back,
until his feet no longer drag on stones.
He watches branches against the sky sail
over. He closes his eyes to feel the wake
of passing canoes and drifts toward what waits.
Chris Green lives in Huntington, West Virginia, where he teaches, writes about, and crusades for Appalachian literature and social justice at Marshall University. He was born and raised in Lexington, a city of some 300,000 in central Kentucky. He recalls, “When I was a high school senior, I asked the AP English teacher, ‘Why don’t we read anyone from Kentucky?’ She leaned over her podium and proclaimed, ‘There are no great writers from Kentucky.’ Thus, I began my quest to discover Kentucky and meet other writers.” He is co-editor of Coal: A Poetry Anthology, has most recently authored The Social Life of Poetry: Appalachia, Race, and Radical Modernism, and is working on a history of Appalachian literature.
The book which is 104 pages long is available in soft cover ($15) and may be ordered directly from Bottom Dog Press (PO Box 425, Huron, Ohio 44839) at http://smithdocs.net, or at area and on-line bookstores. A series of readings and book signings is planned.
[Chris Green may be reached at: <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Or Contact Larry Smith, editor of the press at: 419-433-5560, ext. 20784]