Spring in Abernathy Coal Camp


A hen squats in the shadow of my hand, raises tail feathers, mistaking me for the rooster I held to the block last night. Next door, just moved in, a woman picks at the overburden. A boy, almost old enough for the mine, speaks Russian to her from the back porch— his legs severed clean at the knee by the stoop's shadow, the shadow from her hat brim lifting from a veil into a blindfold as she raises her head. A hawk circles the house rows, suspends in an updraft, swoops down, its shadow a mirage of rich soil.

ADAM VINES is an assistant professor of English at the University of Alabama at Birmingham and the editor of Birmingham Poetry Review. He has published poems recently or has poems forthcoming in Tampa Review, New Orleans Review, Poet Lore, Redivider, 32 Poems, among others.