UNDERGROUND VOICES: POETRY
NATHAN A. BAKER
There are some deep pools in the swamp
One, we never found the bottom to,
Where the preacher’s boy drowned
Summer of ’69… same year his brother
Shipped off to war leaving their mother
To pine away in anguish… the brother
Returned after twelve months rattled
But breathing lucky to have all his parts
Weird what one remembers fishing
Damn old swamp has seen a lot of things
Snake infested its eerie gray moss
Hanging in the shadows and owls hooting
Incessantly at the haunts lurking just beneath
Brackish waters submerged with conifer roots
Lessons in Survival
My thoughts are there again tonight
Outside the little house on old 301 South
Daddy and I are preparing to clean fish
In the backyard… it is almost dark.
I am about five or six years of age
And I’m watching as my father hammers
Sixteen-penny nails through heads
Of still writhing catfish into top porch step
To secure them for removal of their skins,
Which follows with a quickness of hand
So fast I am not really sure if they had
Sported a slimy outer skin to begin with.
His next move reduced them to bodiless heads
With entrails trailing mouths still trying to scream.
Nathan is a carpenter/poet living in the mountains of Tennessee.
His poetry has appeared at Red River Review, Tamafyhr Mountain
Poetry, Lily, Underground Window, Zafusy, and Blue House.
© 2006 Underground Voices