Muscadine Lines: A Southern Journal

January Night at the Folks

Thomas D. Reynolds

With the furnace out
And snow in the forecast,
They huddle around the wood stove
And journey into 1897.

The surrounding houses dissolve,
Leaving a thin horizon of white hills.

Wind lurks around the timber,
Drawn by the lantern light,
Howls echoing into the ravines.

Like a gray horse gaunt with starvation,
The bare oak branch nuzzles the window pane,
Begging for sustenance.

How did pioneers stay engaged
On such a night?

Could the same collection of stories
Suffice to stem the tide of loneliness?

Could imagination surge yet again
To create a new even if wholly fabricated tale?

Perhaps contrary to history,
The pioneer’s fortitude was not fully tested
By flood, famine, and deprivation.

Only by such a dark night of the soul,
Glancing into the countenance of a spouse
Who has fitted the last puzzle piece
And now stares into your face,
Daring you to be interesting.


Thomas D. Reynolds teaches at Johnson County Community College in Overland Park, Kansas, and has published poems in various print and online journals, including New Delta Review, Alabama Literary Review, Aethlon-The Journal of Sport Literature, The MacGuffin, Flint Hills Review, Midwest Poetry Review, Potpourri, Ariga, Strange Horizons, Combat, American Western Magazine, The Pedestal Magazine, Ash Canyon Review, and Orphan Leaf Review.

© Thomas D. Reynolds

Muscadine Lines: A Southern Journal ISSN 1554-8449, Copyright © 2004-2012