WHAT USED TO BE THERE
Now, no one lives on the ridges;
houses up the hollow have slumped
into themselves and rabbits feed
above on grass in the cemetery.
After my father’s stroke, they put
him in a kind of harness at
the rehabilitation center,
advised a trip out for dinner.
On TV, which he can’t follow,
the sitcoms are about families
we don’t recognize, unfamiliar
as the reruns of
In the rockers on the porch I talk
to him of the willows breaking
into green above the swollen
creeks, redbuds pinking the hardwoods.
I could just as well be talking
about a dried-up town where there
was only the taste of salt for
daughters, the saccharine need for
working sons, where wearing a life
was tuneless, decent nights and days
with no thought of memorial.
I could just as well be silent.
from Rattle #72, Summer 2021
Tribute to Appalachian Poets
Trent Busch: “I have published over 400 poems and most of them are based on my growing up in rural West Virginia. In fact, my latest book is called West Virginians. When I write, I can never get away from that Appalachian influence.”