Monday, January 23, 2006

My Turn to Watch Granddaddy's Body

He’d sit in a cane rocker on his dirt yard
shirt cuffs flapping yell to mama
girl bring me some tea.

Lucky for him she adored her daddy
otherwise that old goat
would’ve died a lot sooner.

A mining doctor he bled the sick
for money they never had called them
stupid animals.

When they couldn’t pay he bartered
for crops coal corn liquor
loved devil’s brew more than himself.

I thought some angry miner might
kill him with a bad batch instead
he died in his sleep at ninety.

I didn’t like him alive don’t care
what happens to him now but in respect
to all the dead I’ll stay my time.

Chella Courington
First appeared in _King Log_ and reprinted in _Southern Girl Gone Wrong_

Monday, January 09, 2006

Like branches of white ash, antlers

lie in spring snow in the foothills.
Close to me every year, he drops them
somewhere along the ravine.

March, I find them in tall grass
honeysuckle braided through tines.
Bees gather. Another season
his rack vibrates in red cedar
mobiles of bone clank till dawn.

I long for him to emerge
yet he never comes
leaving his musk before the fall.

Chella Courington
First Published in _NILAS_ (December 2005)

Thursday, January 05, 2006


Eyes full of moon
she studies me
behind the porch screen.

I smell of tobacco.
She of sage.

I breathe her in
feel my body bend to hers.

Over plains we race

spin through air
on legs lithe and strong
lifting into sky

until my lungs ache and
I fall back into sweet grass.

She covers me till morning.

Chella Courington
First Published in _NILAS_ (December 2005)

Monday, January 02, 2006


I spend long hours in this hot muggy room breaking the necks of chickens. Not with my hands like grandpa who swings the bird round till the neck pops. My machine chops off the head. Drops that blade and splatters blood every five seconds. Fresh blood that tastes salty and sweet at the same time. It bothered me at first. But the pay’s good. What I don’t like is the line chief. During break he tells me he knows when a girl has her period. He can smell her. Says he broke up with his last girlfriend cause she bled so much. He makes me feel dirty like I need to wash with lye. One day he follows me out to the car. Says he dreams about me. Likes to taste me in his sleep. Don’t tell him my dream. The one where he’s hanging with the chickens while I work my machine.

Chella Courington
First Published in the recent issue of _In the Grove_