Winter 2007

Table of Contents - Vol. III, No. 4


Poetry    Essays    Fiction    Book Reviews

Shawn Nacona Stroud


Kill Devil Hill, NC

I crest Kill Devil Hill. A solo Carolina maple
umbrellas above— a canopy of red
bleeds into the sky’s grayness. I inhale
the sweetness of its wounds, those blood-

blooms spill the first scent of spring
into chilled February air. Looking out, the hill mimes
a cliff; its slope drops off at my feet. The Catawba River
flows in waves below on a million unseen

legs, navigates horse-stomped meadows
like a silver millipede, advances toward forested
foothills in the middle distance: one
step forward and I’d topple into its current.

Fields are split by the pegged corpses of trees
that cannot halt this winding watercourse.
It trespasses through every plot. Here,
no one sees me mirror the maple

tree: my branchlets burst with flowers
on their ends; petals helicopter lithe as samaras;
limb perched rooks savor my trauma—
cruor coated beaks rise from my wounds.



It’s no night to stray,
steel-wool clouds strap
a starless sky. The heavens unleash
their arctic breath; even death
is not this chilled. Late winter
flakes her crystals to the ground;
winds kick it about in a fury.

We are lost in cloaks of white sky,
blank as air to the naked eye.
Feet crunch into snow-packed earth
as we land and shake
ice from our broom bristles, settle
among the rocks and tors, those plat-
formed crags of the Teufelskanzel.

Iced Pines enclave us, transfigured
as stones strewn about Medusa’s garden.
They descend Brocken Peak
to be devoured by the Harz’s umbrage.
Up here we dance with the crackling
sway of trees, they are raised skeletons
masquerading to the far-off roar of the Weser.

Tonight our pyres will lap at darkness
like a devil’s thirsty tongue,
all Ilsenburg will shutter
their windows— wait for spring
to come. We turn about the flames, chant
each spirit’s name. Winter winds scream
in fear. Earth’s thawing draws near.


© Shawn Nacona Stroud


Poetry    Essays    Fiction    Book Reviews

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