HomeSouthern VoiceComing of Winter in the Delta

Coming of Winter in the Delta

by Dixon Hearne

Night winds wail and moan—
nature’s wake for autumn’s parting.
A chevron of fattened geese splits the graying sky,
headed for warmer climes—winter fast at their tails.

Homeward march the tired hunters
through waist-high Indian grass,
the day too far gone to clean their kill—
carcasses heaped upon the porch
where the cold will keep them ‘til dawn.

They awaken to the grunt of squirrels
shaking numbness and morning chill
from the broad branches of a walnut tree—
followed by a noisy stir and rush
to stave off pilferers bent on
staking claim to their windfall.

There is hay to be stacked
in the sagging lofts of a tilting barn,
and cords to be split and hauled
to south-facing walls,
where vermin will take up residence
ahead of the brutal delta winter
presaged by local elders—
whose tacit wisdom trumps
the farmer’s almanac

 

Dixon Hearne lives and writes in the American South. He is the author of seven books of poetry and fiction. His work has been twice nominated for the Pushcart Prize, as well as the PEN/Hemingway and PEN/Faulkner awards. His latest book is Plainspeak: New and Selected Poems. Other poetry appears in Poetry South, Tulane Review, Arkansas Review, Chiron Review, Big Muddy, New Plains Review, Weber: The Contemporary West, The Southern Poetry Anthology, IV: Louisiana, Down to the Dark River anthology (LA-Lit Press) and elsewhere. He is currently working on new poetry and short story collections. Read his previous poems in Deep South here

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