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Volume 26, Number 4 — April 2019

POETRY by Neva Bryan

Neva Bryan
Neva Bryan

By Neva Bryan | March 25, 2008

Appalachia, Man: Can You Dig It?

Turn a furrow and find

arrowheads, iridescent beetles,

pop bottles, decapitated dolls,

carbide lamps.

Dig deeper.

Beneath Wal-Mart's parking lot

find the wisp of a tobacco field.

At the DQ, catch the milky ghost

of a farmer's wife.

Look beyond Cracker Barrel,

the car dealership,

the call center,

the prison.

Find hard-faced boys

with anthracite eyes,

who were too wise too soon,

schooled in hell's shafts,

seams and slack.

Dig deeper.

Don't discard the shards.

Can you dig it?

# # #

Neva Bryan says, "The two strongest influences on my writing are nature and my senses. Without these two things, my writing would be empty. Writers who have influenced me include Rita Quillen, Ron Rash, Alice Hoffman, Ray Bradbury, Shirley Jackson, J.R.R. Tolkien, Samuel Taylor Coleridge, Edgar Allen Poe and Stephen King.
Bryan is Director of Public Relations for the Appalachian Agency for Senior Citizens in Cedar Bluff, Va.

# # #

Nothing Much

by Neva Bryan

November 30, 1942
Marion, Va.

Dearest Sister,

I don't know
nothing much to write.

Well, Sis,
I guess all the boys
is still working
at Dante yet.

I am glad none
of your boys
has gone
to the army
Don't know how
soon they will be called.
I look for a terrible
this time,
don't you?

Find out
if Mavis got
her divorce.

I didn't think she would
do anything
to help me
get out.

Well, I don't see
wrong with me.
Eat all
I can get a hold of.

I don't see any
fit to keep me
any longer.

# # #

Vast Mysteries

by Neva Bryan

shells rattle on shore
like discarded bones
of ocean,
gulls track haikus across the sand,
limpid jellyfish parachute below the surf,
but always I turn

Flimsy shores crumble beneath the touch
of sea's salty fingers
but my mountains stand.

folds of earth wear
down under steel
and fire and time.

I'd rather waltz
between locust thorns
than tread across dunes.

Bed me down in honeysuckle,
sleep in the blue
bliss of ancient hills.

# # #


Meet the poets featured in the April issue of A! MAGAZINE FOR THE ARTS and read their poetry by following the links below:

Rees Shearer
Gretchen McCroskey
Benjamin Dugger
Warren Meredith Harris
David Winship
Henry McCarthy
Lena Cantrell McNicholas
Samuel Miller, M.D.
Poetry Events
Arts All Around: A Day Without Poetry by Barbara-lyn Morris
Arts for Youth Spotlight: ETSU Senior Researches Japanese Poet
Back to the main story by Rita Quillen
Jane Hicks
Felicia Mitchell
Delilah O'Haynes