(A poetic comment on Breece D’J Pancake’s short story “A Room Forever”)
Between cold buildings, out to the slate gray river
a view as flat as old year’s end. A room,
a room forever, not because of heaven—
instead because of death. Rose blood blooms
at her small wrists. The man waits at the river,
his tug a means down further, down with dumped
waste to the Delta. But his frozen vision
sees the foggy river, the drizzle as the same.
These pages!—why do I feel this man’s heart?
Everything is cold, the town, the river,
the foggy rain, the woman, not much more
than a child, yet a prostitute. He takes her
nonetheless. An ache beats against the river.
She tries to end it, he just stares some more.
Charles A. Swanson teaches dual enrollment English in a new Academy for Engineering and Technology, serving the Southside region of Virginia. Frequently published in Appalachian magazines, he also pastors a small church, Melville Avenue Baptist in Danville. He has two books of poems: After the Garden, published by MotesBooks, and Farm Life and Legend, from Finishing Line Press.