Anti-Pastoral #4

I want to put down what the mountain has awakened. My mouthful of straw.
I want to stand still but find myself moving from patch to patch. There’s a low
In my throat. I sink to my knees tired or not. My hair a charcoal fire. What
Man could live with this? When I am forgotten, the valley floor will be
The valley floor. Smoke will rise from the limbs without me. Without me.

Vievee Francis is the author of two books of poetry, Blue-Tail Fly (Wayne State University Press, 2006) and Horse in the Dark (Northwestern University Press, 2012). She is the recipient of a Rona Jaffe Writing Award and a Kresge Fellowship. Her work has appeared in numerous journals and anthologies including Best American Poetry 2010 and Angles of Ascent, A Norton Anthology of Contemporary African American Poetry.