portion of the artwork for Adam Day's poem

Elegy in Appalachian Kentucky
Adam Day

—For Sam Fugate

              The deep mines are sighing in relief
at your going. Black Chevys and Plymouths,
fallen out of time, nose down
cold hillsides, dark fish gulping, pumping out
exhaust—landscape of unclaimed ash
and ochre. The seams of strip-mines
split like wet paper.

              There is a woman in her flower
garden lightly pregnant, thinking
of you, milky, blue-veined skin
at the tops of her breasts. Turned
toward the phlox, and beyond,
cowbirds progress along
a fallen gutter. Cats haunt
the house, shifting photos
and soup cans. Butter skating
across a cast-iron skillet
infecting potatoes with its weight of salt.

              Cocooned in a yellow slicker
you walk out into the wheeze
of cicadas and stoneflies
in the wet and craning trees,
the exhausted morning. A bus
leaves every half hour, but nothing
escapes, not the dust climbing
windows like snow, not the mass
of shared senses put away:
slice of pumpkin, a warming
radiator’s tick, the slap of wet and chapped hands.

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FRiGG: A Magazine of Fiction and Poetry | Issue 47 | Spring 2016