Chapter 16
A Community of Tennessee Writers, Readers & Passersby


Jeff Daniel Marion, a native of Rogersville, taught English and creative writing at Carson-Newman University for over thirty-five years. There he was poet-in-residence, director of the Appalachian Center, and editor of Mossy Creek Reader. He has published nine poetry collections, four chapbooks, and a children’s book, Hello, Crow. Poems have appeared in a variety of journals and anthologies, including The Southern Review, Shenandoah, Southern Poetry Review and Appalachian Heritage, among others. His honors include the 2002 Outstanding Contribution to Appalachian Literature Award, the 2005 Educational Service to Appalachia Award, and the 2011 James Still Award for Writing about the Appalachian South. In 2007 he was inducted into the East Tennessee Writers Hall of Fame. Marion lives in Knoxville.


This morning a cardinal plays the scales
of our picket fence, hopping from one paling
to the next, and I am taken back

to 1944, darkened theater where I sit
between my mother and an aunt, both wishing
this war, ratcheted on newsreels, would end.

They follow the bouncing ball as it bounds
from one word to the next, their voices rising
in harmony across the years to now:

a blood-red burst against a sky
so blue I can’t believe the years,
the distance, all that’s disappeared.