Joseph P. Wood



South Sandy Road connects the real world, State 82, to

Three hogs, hail-pelted on their snouts, puddle rolling

At the bottom of the hill, where dirt turns to slop, & slop to

Stuck, the Corolla, which has no business in the Big Boy World

Of 4 wheelers & Pabst Blue Ribbon, of Hey What We Got Here to Humph

And wouldn’t you know, I should’ve kept my mouth shut, & shit

The three guys, packed tight among the dogs, in the pick-up bed

Hop out: one throws the car in neutral, other two pushing, me

Standing beside the dogs, car going back, back, back to

The real world where hail turns to rain, rain to regret,

Which has no place in the Big Boy World.


In a dream where the West Coast collapses, except for this one thin board of continental shelf, the shelf & I detach, hurl through space, & plant above the fireplace in the Antebellum mansion slap-dab behind Piggly Wiggly, buy-one/get-one on pigs feet, pig cracklins, boiled eggs floating in a jar of pepper-fused vinegar, brought up from the Black Belt, alluvial plains of sweet potato & watermelons, a son barefoot under the sun sinking deeper, deeper, the ringworm on his elbow, the belt cinched loosely around his scrawny waist, waste not want not, eat son eat, one day you may make second string, JV football, Thursday, late afternoon, a different time now, sun is orange, tongue hanging gray, remember that dog, Lucy, she’d come up, eat the finger sandwiches off the porch, remember, that white bread, straight from the oven, & that dog’s face, her sad slump, like she defecated in daddy’s ash urn, that tongue, those brown drippy eyes, love me, love me, love me.


Step back for moment: I’m in the Central Time Zone. There are forests specked across this state, this region, where no summer squall shall emerge from nowhere & the blue of the sky sucked up. The forest I burn my Sunday mornings in—running for hours at a time, pounding the dirt until an Achilles ruptures or Plantar Fasciitis emerges in my right foot—is hundreds of square miles of yellow mud & mosquito-razed air. Coughing comes out of random thickets. People live here to avoid the census. I like that: the 75 Winnebago in a clearing, generator on its last legs, beer cans everywhere.

Joseph Wood lives in Tuscaloosa, AL and is a lecturer in English and Creative Writing at the University of Alabama. His first full book of poems, I & We, will be published by CustomWords in 2010. He is also the author of two chapbooks: Travel Writing, forthcoming from Scantily Clad Press, and In What I Have Done & What I Have Failed to Do, which won the 2005 Elixir Press Poetry Chapbook competition and was published in 2006. His poems have appeared in a wide variety of journals which include Indiana Review, Beloit Poetry Review, Gulf Coast, Typo, Drunken Boat, West Branch, among others.

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