I am a scuba diving, distance running, retired park ranger grandfather living in South Carolina. My work has appeared in a number of publications including: Guernica, Raleigh Review, Beloit Poetry Journal, Vinyl Poetry, The Adroit Journal, and The Monarch Review. I've been nominated for Best of the Net, Best New Poets, and three-times for the Pushcart Prize. http://kevinheatonpoetry.webstarts.com/
I rise from black dirt, reconciled to mallows
slaked in deep swallowtail kisses, fretting blues
riffs to lick the fog from off the levee. My yang
for this place is the yin in its ground;
the stock and staple of my talk. Its outcroppings,
more earthy than hallowed, hitched to walking
plow calluses too poor to miss depressions.
And yet, a provender of sorts: an olio of King
Biscuit Flour, lard corn dodgers, and loose leaf
tobacco twist doled out to mildewed gunny sacks,
hung on half crushed millstones to never dry.
There’s a jubilee here that began as a prayer
where humid evenings come to listen. More refrain
than spirit at first, but even so, a voice: one
that would free the Delta from herself, and reclaim
her with a psalm—a hymn, in a tongue for every color,
distant but resounding: own-rolled, scored with folklore
and cipherings, grist to mill and list into river bottom
dusters, dis privies with old chamber pots, and bury
company store tokens in dandelion tumbledowns
still cottoning to rebel ordnance; pawned
to one-armed bandits in sundering Woolworth parishes.
Cyclones that began as gusts with gales of their own,
fanning seed for more flowers—boasting blossoms
much too handsome to heart half bloomed.
First published in Beloit Poetry Journal
The Trail of Tears
Grieving wisps of bone whisked
through misty vapors to the top
of God’s mountain on the forgotten
pilgrimage for orphaned souls.
God cried into woodlands, rapturing
beasts, then formed seven true clans
from seven wolf ribs, and suckled
them at the breast of seven mothers.
He painted their faces in conquering
colours, and lashed each spirit
to the talons of an eagle.
First Published in Glasschord Magazine
Beyond the Throes
of Jealous Sires
Night blindsides the stars--
conceals inside their shadows.
Why do sires hate their children?
Even broken flowers yield milk.
Ugly lights breach shuttered
wombs where mothers kiss.
Drying rain chills the bones--
ice seems cold.
There are too many people--
no grass, no trees.
The foal stands firm, then suckles;
freed from a trilogy of shallow
breaths, fickle limbs, and wild-
eyed stallions who paw their own
reflections, then nuzzle the farrier
clapping them in irons. Beyond
the throes of jealous sires
are hallowed valleys and clover
fields in tall yellow, where fox
pups and loosed ponies frolic--
not a hobblestone in sight.
First published in Rose & Thorn Journal
Who will weep with me for this lack of clowns?
This subtle pleading stirring Londonderry’s coddle
soup. Something recent: chervil and coriander—new
spring lambs; still fetal from backwater, hunkered
down in tallgrass strategy expecting strawman bellows
to siphon off the fog and return them to their womb
Who will pray for them to the one who feeds sheep?
Not Glynnis, the lip syncing songstress whose
ghostwritten mockingbird chords only seem to
lark the music. Not Saffron, the Galway wench;
her yellowed virtues are all in the public domain.
I will bide with them.
I have mirth from the salvers of both fullness
and fever. A sovereign’s colcannon, shepherd’s
pie, barmbrack and scones. Tuppence for a mother’s
love and a widow’s mite of sweetbread. And breeze
from the unclenching fists of miscreants.
First published in Qwerty
©2015 Kevin Heaton