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“Aunt Pallie is dead,” Daddy said.
We went to pay our respects.
“She looks like she could speak.”
I remember Uncle Jeff in a rocker
his features stone, light catching his bald head
his bony hands onionskin with large black veins.
“He won’t live long without her.”
The sun was so hot
even the plastic flowers wilted.
“Isn’t it a lovely day for a funeral?”
The angry fist in my chest
beat against my best Sunday dress.
“I love the view from here.”
I sat on the bed near the casket
and wondered where Aunt Pallie’s legs had gone.
Nancy Dillingham is a mountain woman who knows her landscape and its dark places well. She can confront them, all the while singing the light and the love of place. She reads widely, she listens, she challenges herself, without losing the moorings that keep her steady as a poet and an inhabitant of these mountains.
—Kathryn Stripling Byer
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