Why We Live in the Country

Gabriel Welsch

The lawyers hunt together,
whiskey the vegetable, dust the fruit.
The traffic patterns mirror the corn
in ultralinear intent. Song of the swallow
nest, song of the rising river, song
of the preponderance of sky.

Among us the usual curses,
the baleful tales of families deep
and generationally entwined,
houses musty with their stories,
their frictions. Where virtue
is bone-starved of pretense,
or fattened on the suet of sentiment.

Clear the streams, clear the air,
severe the politics, chalked harsh
the nail-head souls of women.
Fences open their fields.
Streams cut as they wish,
and stars light a sky darker
than the roots gnarling
homes slanted earthward.

You: you’re not from
these parts.