Four miles above
the valley of the Ohio,
from the sliding waters,
from silent currents, 
from the barge wake
lapping the shore,
I lie in bed. I am ten,
caught somewhere between
sleeping and waking, 
in the front bedroom
of the only house on the left.
            
Somehow, in winter,
and only in winter,
the sounds of the river
travel clear as ice
on the clean cold wind,
through the hollows,
their barren tangled trees, 
up over the ridge of Table Rock,
enwrapping the haunted steeple
of Lawrencefield Chapel,
down again into the hollow
and finally climbing the south slope,
settling behind my closed eyes,
where I can see its waves roll
over the land, traverse the full
four miles from the valley
caught somewhere between
sleeping and waking—
the song of the river
in midwinter.

 

 

 

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A life-long resident of the Upper Ohio Valley, William Scott Hanna is an Assistant Professor of English at West Liberty University in West Liberty, West Virginia. He received his MA from Marshall University and his PhD from Indiana University of Pennsylvania. He has poetry forthcoming in Pine Mountain Sand and Gravel, the literary journal of the Southern Appalachian Writer's Cooperative.