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Robert Morgan


Cleaning Off the Cemetery

Not the church-devout but those reverent to family memory show for these workings held every three to five springs, some driving a ways, complaining, but always here on the chosen day with tools and kids and dinner. Each starts by mowing off the plot [...]

Hay Scuttle

The holes in the floor of the barn loft were cut for dropping shucks to the stalls. Pile an armload on the opening and stuff them through. The cow is already eating as the rest splash on her head. The fodder sweet as tobacco is pushed down for the h [...]

The Code

There was a delicate white mole in the crook of my mother's elbow that at the age of two or three I loved to finger. Lying drowsy in her lap while she sang, floating off to sleep at night, I touched the soft bump erect as a nipple. Half dreaming I r [...]

Mountain Sickness

Climbing higher on a far peak and staying there too long, you take headaches and nausea. Your nose bleeds and you are dizzy. Weakness leads to weakness and black out; you fall. Exhilaration and thrill of vistas and triumphant height give way to sadn [...]


Pick for grubbing shiny roots sweet as a hog's testicles. Far out on the mountain's spine, over the jump-off to South Carolina, you see the berries bright as fire seeming to float on a tether after leaves are gone, and under them the knot and nut and [...]


Summer 1988 | Poetry

Red-faced and sweating in autumn
heat, Grandpa and his khaki friend
from town unloaded picks and hammers
off the truck, and took out a case
with dials that seemed a radio
or recording machine with spiral
cord and microphone and needles.

Full of the Moon

No one ever could explain why the moon governed the crops, why things fruiting above ground like beans must be planted on the wax and those bearing under soil as carrots or potatoes should be put out on the wane, and why corn seeded on the full would [...]

Jugs In the Smokehouse

Shelves pegged to time-bleached logs hold the clear ones, just fat bottles, big bulbs shedding weak blue and lavender light in the fusc of the dust-charged air. The oldest could be burial urns for all their ashy sediments. One keeps the coiled skelet [...]

Sky Gift

Daddy saw the single goose like a great dark snowflake in the sky on Christmas morning and ran for his new self-loading Winchester. The bird was out of range of shot. He'd bought the rifle knowing war was near and he should be ready. This Canadian fl [...]

Dead Dog on the Highway

Looks already a part of the shoulder mess, assimilated into weeds and tire-peels, ditch trash. Swollen tight and gray with diesel grime before we find him, who loved to fanfare every truck on the dirt road but had no way to judge the speed of oncomin [...]