Let’s face it: the nexus of American nature writing resides in the mountains. To have hiked at a mile high—at least, but preferably twice that—and written about it is almost a required endeavor. Gary Ferguson has done this and more. He’s bona fide; he’ll make a good spokesperson. His trail-essay books come out of the tradition of an author-guide leading readers into wild areas for delight and instruction. . . .Read more
I didn’t know he was married,
didn’t know I wasn’t the only one
who believed he had landed
in my life like an out-of-season
blue heron, singular and sunlit
at the edge of a lake, a figure
in a woodblock print, . . .
I drag myself from bed with a magazine of white smiles clamped beneath my elbow, and I’m almost alive in the ruined hallway. Mold dots the floorboards; the ceiling’s splotched gray from water leakage—It’s old markings, our landlord said, Call me if the spots spread. . . .Read more
Sure, it’s all Chekhov this and Chekhov that,
and I am far from the only one
to keep myself up at night
thinking about his gun,
but the man was a dreamboat,
gray eyes and smirking beard
and lips—those lips. . . .
for Herb Creecy
Ten years ago I drove down to Barnesville
to see my friend, the artist Herb Creecy,
who was dying of pancreatic cancer.
He chose this way to end up: No hospital. . . .
What matters most is private and vast and can’t be seen
on the brain scan, though it may burn orange or blue
or a toasty gold in the amygdala,
a magnolia-green in the cingulum, the cinnamon
or burnt wine of an old tin roof all through the fornix. . . .
“You dork!” my sister shouted the day I called to tell her
I thought I might be pregnant. “Haven’t you checked
yet? Go to the pharmacy and call me back! Sheesh.”
1. FOLK ACOUSTICS
When we were in elementary school, . . .Read more
Oil has seeped into
the margins of the ditch of standing water
and flashes or looks upward brokenly,
like bits of mirror—no, more blue than that:
like tatters of the Morpho butterfly.
How young were my boys when I moved them to a town, . . .Read more
If the trout died it would not be
as motionless as it is now,
in a current a man cannot
stand in and under which looser
stones go tumbling from their sockets.
Across its back it seems sunlight
is what’s swimming, . . .
My obsession with borders was born all at once in three different countries, depending on who you ask. I was in my early twenties, biking with a friend across the parched soda plains of the Askai Chin. For weeks we traversed this high-altitude wilderness, a land spread wide as wings, . . .Read more