Just off the road to Snowbird, North Carolina
a Dodge truck is rusting in a field of green onion weed.
The hood is open like a mouth in the rain.
A tuft of dry day-lilies has blossomed from the windshield.
Across the road, Jerry's Texaco
sells minnows, fishing line, and gallons
of blackberries picked by truckloads
of Cherokee workers in blue denim overalls.
They work the fields until dusk, humming
low-key cantatas as they scour the briar-brush.
Their faces darken with sweat and dust
the mutable color of thin, dry rust.
They turn to each other and whisper, Dalgugi—
We are together. They share water from plastic cups.
When they leave, the chrome details of their trucks
sparkle like bits of flint flung into the sun.
© 1999 Jonathon Minton
Jonathan Minton is from Wilksboro, North
Carolina and is a graduate of North Carolina State University's
master's program in English Literature. He has been a poetry
reviewer for The North Carolina Review of Books and
has recently published poems with The Distillery,
The New Review, The Asheville Review, and
The South Carolina Review. He plans to pursue a Ph.D.
in modern American poetry.
"In Lost Languages, Minton's
words comprise the careful gardener, going through the stem
and bloom of our lives. His investigation into what is joy
and sorrow is laced with a reverence steeped in a southern
parlance of hope. These are poems that hold language lightly,
out of a melancholic wisdom, a sure knowledge of our frailty.
Lost Languages shows Minton lighting 'the way to home.'"
—Afaa Michael Weaver
"Jonathan Minton's poems throb and pulsate
with life of the natural world in the perfect lines, organic
meters and rhythms, in the lush sounds and images that signal
in these few poems the debut of a consummate craftsman. What
does this young poet most credit is that he is engaged in
a 'quest' that any poet worth his salt is duty-bound to make—a
quest that far too many lesser poets are either ignorant of
or indifferent to. Here is a real poet in action, in the making,