Born and raised in Knoxville, Sue Weaver Dunlap now lives deep in the Tennessee mountains near Walland, where she and her husband live on and work a mountain cattle farm. Her poems have appeared in Appalachian Journal, Anthology of Appalachian Writers, Appalachian Heritage, and Southern Poetry Anthology, among other collections and journals.
Age on the calendar, she said, it don’t matter much,
just marks time for folks not living. Years don’t count
none. People form our days, ease or pain don’t suffer us.
Breathe them in, she said, sort of mix them up inside,
see how they settle, glisten like sand on Brush Creek
or churn muddy after hard summer storms up river.
Don’t matter any, Mama said, that extra year on our skin.
Lines ebb and flow, lips purse and give. Girl, just hold folks,
knead them into place, and rock, rock as the leaves gather.