Clouds stroke hills’ pregnant bellies, 
sure sign of more rain to come—
rain that sets in before first light, falls quietly
from afternoon’s polished pewter sky.

Water pools in furrows beside dripping cornstalks.
Earth sucks at my feet. 
Caverns under zucchini’s umbrella leaves
conceal a thousand darknesses.

Vermiculate roots unclasp waterlogged earth, 
trailing a deeper dark—always there, 
never noticed in sunlight; shadows
hiding under beds, in cellars, and closets.

Dusk quenches black pines. 
In the gloaming, woods crowd closer, 
houses fade into fog—
I flail the mist like someone struck blind.




Janice Hornburg is a native Texan transplanted to East Tennessee. Her chapbook, Perspectives, was released by Finishing Line Press in May, 2013. Her work is published in the Anthology of Appalachian Writers, Gretchen Moran Laskas Volume V andThe Southern Poetry Anthology, Vol. VI: Tennessee. Other poems have appeared in Appalachian HeritageChapter 16Town Creek PoetryPine Mountain Sand and GravelCold Mountain Review, and Still: The Journal.