Creationism reigns so much so
in my hometown that the curve
of highways leading outward
is called lonely. Extended families,
related but distant, crawl
from the shallow end
of diversion ditches come summer,
their wet trunks hanging
between their legs
like vestigial webs—and there’s always
that cousin. The one with fingers
or toes or nostrils that don’t
separate right, the tree
without branches that somehow struggles
upright against every gale
and thaw. And spring brings with it
challenges unique to living nowhere.
Once a third cousin hit Old River Road
near the irrigation junction going sixty.
Did the fault of sunlight
on black ice define where he reached,
or the blanket excuse he lived
to use from two wheels,
his gaze permanently careful?
Many times, you see, we are just interested
in the image of the curve,
in the parabolic sweep
of mountains that drew generations
of wagon trains like comets
through the eye of a needle.
Pioneering: July 22, 1838; Waycross, Georgia
Fear of a weak frame will set you joining.
You’ll find lap keying the easiest joinery,
but also the weakest—the logs breathe
and water enters the joint
making treenails or tenons necessary.
They say their mothers first go home
out here to the whistle of branch
holding wind and trunks whittled as teeth.
Consider the employ of stone,
but brick if it can be had
will breathe without soaking, especially when snow
sparks through the gaps like thistledown.
Employ axe, auger, and cross-cut saw
for windows and the door once
the wall timbers are set. You can do without
as window techniques can indeed be vexing,
but consider the lesson of the Wildes.
They say the Wildes were aroused
last Tuesday from inside their shoddy walls
several times by two yard dogs.
Had they proper windows they might
have seen shapes in the treeline.
It’s true yard dogs, especially those
of Shepherd descent, will alert
as they no doubt spilled Wildes himself
from the straw mat bed handed down
by his mother. They say only Mary Anne
was found still clinging to the dead baby
and calling for water from the undergrowth
where she hid, but immediately
upon drinking she, too, fell dead.
The lesson is always the same,
out here. It was Daniel Stong of Toronto
who seated wooden wedges, for instance,
which, founded properly of moss and clay,
allows the wall timbers to sit almost no matter
how hard the wood or how straight.
Guiseppe Getto is an Assistant Professor of English at East Carolina University. His work can be found in Eclectica, Reed, Slant, Sugarhouse Review, and elsewhere. His chapbook Familiar History is now available from Finishing Line Press. website • contact