Dodd Hopkins lost his mind the day after his wife passed, left his bed hours before the sun tipped the mountain’s edge. The morning wind was to his ear a prophetic tongue. In sleeping clothes, barefoot, the moon’s scant flame to light his way, he walked into woods over briars and bramble fully numb, wandered until dawn dipped the sky in blue. He gathered all the flowers he could find, made trips back and forth from woods to home with armfuls of fringed phacelia, trillium, gentian, trailing arbutus. The land’s unsteady gable dizzied him, and, near noon, his feet bleeding and the solar bath of light singeing his skin, his brain absorbed the rate at which Earth spun. He knew that no alchemies would summon her, that no mix of ivy and thorn and blood would stall the devils that carved the last of his sense away. He couldn’t shake the vision of her body underground, bleeding dry. So he reaped and reaped until he felt satisfied he’d upset spring’s dark womb, made a hex of its design, and for weeks more crept the ridges in mourning, snatching plants up by fistfuls, his only solace the fibrous sounds of tearing taproot, his smile the raveling of that embroidery. He filled the house with her—blooms and leaves took the shape her body had pressed into their bed. Nights he cooked for two, placed wild onion and daffodils in her supper chair. He lined apple leaves along the window sills she used to crack to let the warmer seasons in. Once he’d finished with the house, he transcribed her into the winding path she’d tread in grass and mud to tend their yard, to feed the garden until it fed them back. And though all this work summoned her once or twice to shimmer in his dreams, these steeped floras made the map of grief he traveled every day, toiled to tend, even as all he did to keep her there wilted, cracked, or blew away.

WILLIAM WRIGHT is author of seven collections of poetry: four full length books, including Tree Heresies (Mercer University Press, forthcoming in spring 2015), Night Field Anecdote (Louisiana Literature Press, 2011), Bledsoe (Texas Review Press, 2011), and Dark Orchard (Texas Review Press, 2005, winner of the Breakthrough Poetry Prize). Wright’s chapbooks are Sleep Paralysis (Stepping Stones Press, 2012, Winner of the South Carolina Poetry Initiative Prize, selected by Kwame Dawes), Xylem & Heartwood (Finishing Line Press, 2013) and The Ghost Narratives (Finishing Line). Wright is Series Editor and Volume Co-editor of The Southern Poetry Anthology, a multivolume series celebrating contemporary writing of the American South, published by Texas Review Press. Additionally Wright serves as Assistant Editor for Shenandoah, translates German poetry, and is editing three volumes, including Hard Lines: Rough South Poetry (with Daniel Cross Turner). Wright won the 2012 Porter Fleming Prize in Literature. Wright has recently published in The Kenyon Review, Oxford American, The Antioch Review, Shenandoah, and Southern Poetry Review.