From the photograph in The Mountain Eagle
titled GUNSMOKE, you know Wayne Whitaker
wears overalls and has a brother named Waylon.
The article says Wayne is a native of Hallie, Kentucky.
And in other news, a scandal sheet at Wayne’s feet
says the human soul weighs 1/3000th of an ounce.
What we don’t see, beyond the gray-white billow,
is the other headline: ELVIS PICTURE WEEPS
and God’s hand in this—how else could Wayne W.
have shot an impressively tight X and lost?
God, Thief of Harvests, Builder of the Stars,
has fixed the Mountain Heritage Black Powder Shoot.
That’s what Wayne says in the article, adding
that God has whispered to his brother the teller
at the Mayking Christian Bookstore—
PO Box 400, Mayking, KY 41837—that Fleming-Neon
is where the trumpets will sound and Judgment Day
commence. Still, the way Wayne eyes the target,
showing us, in other photographs, what to do,
when and how to breathe hold move—
God could do worse than pull up a lawn chair
and bet on this 1/3000th of an ounce
who may make shooters of us all
before the pig roast.
Roy Bentley is the recipient of six Ohio Arts Council fellowship awards, as well as a fellowship from the Florida Division of Cultural Affairs and a Creative Writing Fellowship from the National Endowment for the Arts. Poems have appeared in The Southern Review, Shenandoah, North American Review, Prairie Schooner, and Waccamaw among other journals. He is the author of four collections of poetry: Boy in a Boat (University of Alabama), Any One Man (Bottom Dog Books), The Trouble with a Short Horse in Montana (White Pine Press), and Starlight Taxi (Lynx House Press) which won the 2012 Blue Lynx Poetry Prize.