1. The Fenceline
The mimosa of my childhood
grew through the fenceline,
a swelling possession,
as if it were Columbus, claiming
us and our neighbors.
I would ignore the teetering swing set
and pluck middle sections out of the leaves
to make lanky birds, phoenixes
that could clear the fence but chose to stay
in my mind garden,
flapping and bobbing
at the end of my arms
like carnival airplane rides.
Matchbox cars pulled up to mimosa root houses,
Borrowers and Hobbits.
I made fences out of kindling.
The matchbox cars would arrive home and drive away,
mapping a sense of place.
2. Mine Pony Farm
Her dad left her an Appalachian
slope, Mine Pony Farm, she called it,
after the sturdy servants who made it profitable once.
Now she rolled downhill with
the water, dogs and copperheads,
keeping ahead of mining company
snipers who shot to scare
her off, even as crews dug the mountain out
from under her.
“You and I,” she said, “we carry a sense of place.”
3. Seven River Crossings, Three Ways In
Seven trips, seven friends carried each others’ loads,
plywood and board feed, pillows and rice,
down into the deep Ozark valley.
They had park permission.
They would stake their claim
miles off any pavement, in a fold within
a fold of the state land.
There were three ways in:
A two hour road, seven river crossings, drivable
a couple of months of the year;
A two hour climb down one mountain;
A five hour hike down the other.
Each built a house. Hippie blends of old
and new, found logs, barn windows, satellite dishes.
Some stayed year round, some would come and go,
keeping jobs and family ties.
As years circled like buzzards, as kids, once dirty-kneed, turned
away to college, the friends faded off or left in some huff.
Listening, circling decisions, had always been tough.
A woman and a man she’d recently met had Brigadoon
to themselves. They were bent and knotted from planting,
dragging and climbing.
They would stop and allow my visit, for the magazine article.
These poems, first published in Belle Reve Journal, are part of an upcoming book length cycle, Mimosas and Mine Ponies (A Sense of Place).
Wren Tuatha (Califragile Editor). Wren’s poetry has appeared or is upcoming in The Cafe Review, Canary, Pirene’s Fountain, Peacock Journal, Coachella Review, Arsenic Lobster, Baltimore Review, Loch Raven Review, Clover, Lavender Review, Autumn Sky Poetry Daily, Poetry Pacific, and Bangalore Review. Her chapbook, Thistle and Brilliant, is upcoming from Finishing Line Press. Wren and her partner, author/activist C.T. Lawrence Butler, herd skeptical goats on a mountain in California.