Bill Vernon

Back in the Hills

As if the floor might fall
in, the kitchen linoleum gave
with your weight, edging
past the humpbacked woman
who liked to hug you
against her pillowy bosom.
Short as an elf she made
you kiss her floury cheeks
and run errands, like search
the bricked-in fruit cellar
for concoctions brewed up
last summer. You rummaged
through darkness and cobwebs
and ran back sneezing,
clutching by their metal rings
a slick Mason jar in each hand,
buttered cukes, relish, corn,
succotash, tomatoes or jam.
She cackled thanks
and released you outdoors,
warning you’d better watch out.
The veins of coal burning
in deep mines had hollowed
the hills so the ground was
collapsing, swallowing cars,
old leaning houses like hers,
and people, even little boys
playing alone in the woods.

Bill Vernon has poetry and fiction in online and hard-copy journals, recently in AD HOC MONADNOCK, THE CHERRY BLOSSOM REVIEW, TAPESTRIES, ON THE PAGE, SWITCHED-ON GUTENBERG, THE EXTERNALIST, WANDERINGS, CHICK LIT REVIEW. His novel OLD TOWN, published by Five Star Mysteries in June, concerns urban sprawl and other contemporary threats to the individual and his or her local community. Please check his website here.