Upbringing

By  |  February 24, 2016
“Window Pane 3,” by Matt Bollinger “Window Pane 3,” by Matt Bollinger

So shout hallelujah!  as they douse the boy in river water.
So bring him up to find his eyes laced in silt—
so the congregants scowl at him, the odd one—
so red the mud smeared in his hair it looks as blood gone slag with sin,
               he runs home in rain, his teeth chattering,

so the wind bites at him cold, even in May, the backroad mess
so bog-slocked and rock-slashed—and home now
so the family scatters each self to a nest,
so delicately built with least resentments—and the boy,
so tired, his ears crammed with biblical slosh, sleeps
so soundly, dreams of a girl he will never witness, her hair

struck red against the wetness of her lavender dress,
so lovely, lovely, that when he wakes he’ll walk the farm
so pocked with nails and crates and lichen-licked marl and think never
so much as now of the clay that makes him, the water that shapes him
so heavily, this land a trap, a friend.

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William Wright is author of four full-length collections of poetry, including Tree Heresies (Mercer University Press, forthcoming in spring 2015) and Night Field Anecdote (Louisiana Literature Press). Wright is series editor and volume co-editor of The Southern Poetry Anthology, a multivolume series. Assistant editor for Shenandoah, Wright recently finished editing Hard Lines: Rough South Poetry (with Daniel Cross Turner, forthcoming in 2016 from the University of South Carolina Press).

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