Spring in Abernathy Coal Camp

by Adam Vines

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 associate professor at the University of Alabama at Birmingham, where he is editor of Birmingham Poetry Review. He is the author of Out of Speech (LSU Press, 2018) and The Coal Life (University of Arkansas Press, 2012) and coauthor of Day Kink (Unicorn Press, 2018) and According to Discretion (Unicorn Press 2015) His recent poems have appeared in Southwest Review, The Hopkins Review, Ecotone, Five Points, Green Mountains Review, 32 Poems, and The Greensboro Review.