Scott Neely



Passage

August,
Cowpens


today
before the heat
leaves wait



cicadas blister the air



night comes down the mountain
crickets in my ear
crickets in my ear

+++

September,
Wofford


2:23, stars
leaning out the window
night tight against my chest, exhaust

+++

darkening, wind
I-85 S from Gaffney


dusk gold

sears blue mountains,
night swallowed mountains

burn

+++

December

Walking the woods.
Briars, blood.



Beech
stands above stone water
tucked in the hill’s thigh.

+++

New Year’s Eve,
Peter’s Creek


First flakes
pop on dry leaves.

Evening on the hill.
Skeleton trees
scatter ranks.

The heavy sound of a train
on the wood’s hem.

+++

Road North
I-40 into Tennessee


Exhaust through the vent.
Squeezed between trucks and concrete.

No chance to see the mountains.

These hills don’t even see
our blur.

+++

Smokies

bristly, bald stone—
nestled like toads
in their chins.

+++

Road South
Gethsemani to Sullivan’s Island


Coat hangers ring

bells in an empty closet.



Burst of ash on sand.
She stifles her cigarette
before passing the first dunes,

wraps the stub in silver gum wrapper.
Acrid smell trails behind her,
my feet hit February water.

+++

March,
Spartanburg


Blue through
the empty heads of oaks—

Tomorrow, sky says, cold returns.

Truck treads in churned clay dry,
wait for a last freeze.

+++

April,
downtown


Two maples
scrub the face of the Goodwill store—

in the rain, without sun.

+++

July,
Road Home


Black rat
snake on the road

curves, turns,

rots, gnawed by wasps.




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