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Two Poems by Jennifer Horne

Oh, Possum

The possum disappeared for days,
each morning more of it gone somewhere else
away from the asphalt, road’s-edge, drygrass.
The coyote skull from last winter laughed and laughed.

Steam came up from the valleys
and buzzards dried their wings in a dead tree,
dangerous angels, the bad boys of the bird world.

Finally all that remained was its empty fur,
like a muff you’d wear to the opera.
The tail, too. Small whip. Accusing finger. A chalk curve.

No curl or hang or play left in it,
just the goneness of a thing you’ll miss,
the now-superfluous remnant of a small life, lived.

Southern Love Story

In coldest January,
when Arctic air
dips down
to frost the lawn,
our bed
is Mediterranean.

Unclothed and languid,
we pursue
a brilliant
bright blue
dalliance
to see us through.

Jennifer Horne is the Poet Laureate of Alabama (2017-2021). The author of three collections of poems, Bottle Tree, Little Wanderer and Borrowed Light, she also has written a collection of short stories, Tell the World You’re a Wildflower. She has edited or co-edited four volumes of poetry, essays and stories, and in 2020 she co-edited, with her sister, a collection of their mother’s poetry, Root & Plant & Bloom: Poems by Dodie Walton Horne. Her latest work is a biography of the writer Sara Mayfield. Horne has taught creative writing in a variety of settings, including the position of Visiting Writer-in-Residence at Lenoir-Rhyne University for the spring semester of 2018, has been the recipient of fellowships from the Alabama State Council on the Arts and the Seaside Institute in Florida, and in 2015 was awarded the Druid City Literary Arts Award, given by the Tuscaloosa Arts Council. Her webpage and blog, “A Map of the World,” can be found here. And her previous work in Deep South can be found here.

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Vacation
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