Readings in Contemporary Poetry

Charles Wright


APPALACHIAN LULLABY


In Kingsport, high on the ridge,
               night is seeping out of the Cumberlands
And two-steps the hills, shadows in ecstasy across the sky-
Not dark, not dark, but almost,
                              deep and a sweet repose.

Under the washed-red mimosa spikes,
                                  under the blue backwash
Of evening, under the gun
Of mother-prayer and expectation, gently the eyelids close.

My sister and mother and father, each
In a separate room,
      stay locked in a private music and drift away, night
And day, drift away.

I hear the gates of my life snick shut,
Air kisses,
    kisses from someplace that Iíve never been, but will be from.
Snick snick through the Red Sea, snick snick toward the 
    promised land

Someone is turning the lights out.
                                 The darkness is mine,
Time, slow liquid, like a black highway in front of me
Somewhere, no headlights, somewhere.

Hello goodbye hello. Works and days.
We come, we hang out, we disappear.
There are stars above us that canít be counted,
                                      and canít be counted on.

Gently the eyelids close.
                       Not dark, not dark.  But almost.
Drift away. And drift away.
A deep and a sweet repose.

© 2000 Charles Wright

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