Chapter 16
A Community of Tennessee Writers, Readers & Passersby

“In the Lowlands”

Heather Dobbins’s work has appeared in Beloit Poetry Review, CutBank, Raleigh Review, The Rumpus, The Southern Poetry Anthology (Tennessee), and TriQuarterly Review, among others. She graduated from the College Scholars program at the University of Tennessee in Knoxville and won the Jane Kenyon scholarship from the Graduate Writing Seminars at Bennington College in Vermont, where she earned an M.F.A. in creative writing. Her debut collection, In the Low Houses, appeared in March 2014. She lives in her hometown, Memphis.

In the Lowlands

nothing gets through.
Only in sleep when I reach
for your hand. This body
is chickenwire, its twisted metal lines
cowering over dandelions and thistle.
Fingers on a kite string leading
to a fire in the sky,
a yellow bud with an answer.
What was concerto composes to a whine.
What we have is a line to ride out: I said but I meant.
Bang on a Steinway till some clanging crime looks away.
A violent fence you straddle.
I keep you out because I have to.