She sought to wake me subtle, a nudge against winter remnants,
bleak rain, light too short, dark cut my cadence. Purple phlox
lined the windy drive like soldiers greet wounded fresh from battle.
March frogs orchestrated praise hymns from the barn bog, escorted
me up the weary steps. I first noticed late light when bats dove
near my head scavenging for supper gnats. I paused, ready to shed
my soaked coat at the door. Whippoorwills and blackberry white
walked in together while trillium teased and may apples blanketed
our holler. But it was the lady slippers, their bulging bellies
the backdrop for courting dances of my three toms with puffed
chests and draped brown capes that wrapped me.
Copyright © 2021 by Sue Weaver Dunlap. Excerpted from A Walk to the Spring House (Iris Press). All rights reserved. Sue Weaver Dunlap lives near Walland, where she and her husband Raymond live and work a mountain farm. Her poems have appeared in Appalachian Journal, Anthology of Appalachian Writers, and Southern Poetry Anthology, among other anthologies and journals. Her chapbook The Story Tender was released by Finishing Line Press in 2014 and her full collection Knead in 2016 by Main Street Rag Publishing.