Clyde Kessler, poet and naturalist, lives in Radford, VA with his wife Kendall and their son Alan. Several years ago they added an art studio to their home and named it Towhee Hill. His latest book of poems, Fiddling at Midnight’s Farmhouse (Cedar Creek Publishing), was illustrated by his wife, Kendall Kessler.


This morning I trowel cement into a boot
and when it’s all a rock inside the leather,
I sink it into a shallow pond like a soldier
pointing at gravestones, fifty years late.

Pretend this holler is a string in the boot.
It makes a bluegill imagine a bloodworm
in its mouth. It makes a bass tear through
the bluegill’s belly. It dents the noon sun
where the played out mine draws old men
from the planks. This is all upstream.
The map says I should put the boot there
instead of in the pond. Then a salamander
unkinks its legs from algae strands.
It nestles into the boot-top, and bobbles.

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