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Terry L. Kennedy

Music Like Dirt

Music Like Dirt

For as long as I can remember, perhaps before, I have been infatuated with these pecan trees. Mistaken their knots and wounds for eyes, ears, which, in this country, is becoming easy. Their roots will never abandon us. I’m enamored of the centipede, how its long fingers weave together like a favored grandparent’s: ready to cushion our first falls, shield us from the emptiness of our futures. And I admire the squeaky black mole, passionately burrowing beneath the grass, devouring termites & maggots and other malignancies never brought to light. Is there life without the swoop and dive of the gull, its feathers glowing brilliant and white in the noonday sun? Without the reliable waves frothing clean on the shore? Let me stay here forever. Let the black sand and dogwood blooms sustain me. Let the night rest lightly upon my face, the cool scent of dew parting my parched lips. I understand why the robin does not leave for winter, its head dutifully cocked to the ground—listening. I am in love with the family cemetery. The green grass weaving an afghan of warmth for those grown thin with age. The live oak holds sentry—its roots reaching out, binding us tightly together. And I am not afraid when new monuments sprout from the soil. No matter the names, I am happy, overjoyed even. I can claim the calm and peace of the handcrafted bass or fiddle—the knowledge of my own distinct sound and range—my undisputed moment in this song.


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Terry L. Kennedy is the author the chapbook, Until the Clouds Shatter the Light That Plates Our Lives published by Jeanne Duval Editions of Atlanta, GA in the Fall of 2012. A new collection, New River Breakdown, is forthcoming from Unicorn Press in 2013. His work appears or is forthcoming in a variety of literary journals and magazines including Cave Wall, from the Fishouse, Oxford American, Southern Review, and Waccamaw. He teaches at UNC Greensboro where he is the Associate Director of the Graduate Program in Creative Writing and editor of the online journal, storySouth.


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