North Carolina Literary Review Online 2021

Page 47

Writing Toward Healing

N C L R ONLINE

47

FINALIST, 2020 JAMES APPLEWHITE POETRY PRIZE BY J.S. ABSHER

Weeding On all fours, I pull the wood sorrel from the creeping jenny. Experts say you can never get all its rhizomes and runners. You’ll be on hands and knees every day, they mean, and I won’t mind so long as I can get back on my feet.

COURTESY OF THE ARTIST

Sorrel means sour, not the bright chestnut of the horse. Jenny comes from chinny, for “chin cough” (we call it whooping), and was used as a specific, not because it worked, but because they had to try something to keep the graveyards from filling with babies. Everything with a name has a history and a use. Soapwort. Purslane. Eat it, clean with it, use it for ground cover. Use it for metaphor – history, the thuggish rhizome in our garden. We creep on all fours trying to remove it, but it always comes back and we somehow manage always to get back up again – not all of us, I mean, but some. Sorrel is for sorrow.

Another Beginning, 1997 (collage, 24.25x20.5) by Vandorn Hinnant

Fifth-time finalist J.S. ABSHER had two poems selected for publication this year. Read the other one in the 2021 print issue. The poet’s first full-length book, Mouth Work (St. Andrews University Press, 2016; reviewed in NCLR Online 2017) won the 2015 Lena Shull Book Competition sponsored by the North Carolina Poetry Society. His work has been published in approximately fifty journals and anthologies, including Visions International, Tar River Poetry, and Southern Poetry Anthology, VII: North Carolina. He lives with his wife, Patti, in Raleigh, NC.

VANDORN HINNANT is a painter, sculptor, poet, and educational consultant who resides in Durham, NC. He received a BA in Art Design from NC A&T State University and studied sculpture at UNC Greensboro. His works of art are in private collections in Africa, North America, and Europe, and in public collections across North America. He leads hands-on experiential workshops on “The Geometry of Art and Life” for learners of all ages. He has served as guest curator of exhibitions, as juror of many fine art competitions, and as guest lecturer at colleges and universities.


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