When Sparks Fly | Delores Peffley

                                             When Sparks Fly | Delores Peffley

Brent House

Augur of Cribbing


A stable bitten & chewed   board by board   laid with an empty bed of ground forest

                                                                                                                                         remnants hoped for

by innocence in grain & in bone will cleave as dust shook from a white horse rises

                                                                                                                                  as if his flesh were field

                                                                                                                                    under a heavy harrow

easily broken as clods   by teeth as iron bits wet by rage & possession of memory

                                                                                                                                                  rooted in feral

                                                                                                                                               climbing of hills

                                                                                                                                         leaping of branches

                                                                                                                            running over rough terrain

wildness shaldered & cast to trail   as wind marked onerous appears heaved in a sky

                                                                                                                                           skittish neigh near

I am withering & broken limbs reaching out to ground as rose scars lilt from swaths

                                                                                                                                    skin bursts under pine

a noble unbridled taut rip of soil with fear & tare   I fall into a makeshift whip & hold fast

                                                                                                                                                 as straw & clay

would embellish breezes with delicate bent wrist scarred union

                                                                 would embellish a soft lope with abated silence along rivers

as fire drowns in a cinch of reins   visions are pitched down   low swung spirits lament

                                                                                                                                  unguents of sap anoint

a fallen copse   fascicles humbly gather fervor as dry tenderness nuises our soil

                                                                                                                                       lifted under hooves.

Augur of Croft


Still grasses endoss summer field out near goldenrod & aster   as cattails stand a son upon peril


a son who shall not trail into thickets of reluct to find a ball   for he comes full into clay

                                                                                                                                                 comes full four

into four our field broken by a fiveedged plate as a heart is broken by a coarct aorta

                                                                                                                                                  by a third sack

for into three the heart of a son may not be sealed    as shadows of foul poles break

                                                                                                                                          as arteries of blood

black as september white bodies of terror released a thick void & coming into sacred

                                                                                                                                           land upon which I

offer a son as a red himation to my left heart broken   a red son who hangs on my neck

                                                                                                                                                    as generation

marrows my manred sin into scars sublime & straight   lines of her leaving & a box I cannot


so I stand   draw a line in flesh with a barrel   heavy with tar of my pines.


Augur of Cursor



He shall walk in grassfields of inheritance . . . allowance & recompence

as heirs loam & all other good demands bare feet  & scapeless wet blades . . . strains of stained


sayers of absence . . . spread thy sight around thee   & see in greenprints of dewy impasture

a way among barb & pale . . . & hear a second shofar   a reverberation of mere soil

                                                                                                                       & he shall walk into hollows

among hammocks of laurel & pungent bays in innominate wilt

as his blood backs into his generation   he will walk among cogon   & weave a red valance

under a pillar of repentance                                                            for our barns haf na faders in liue.



He shall walk among sands   & his ingredience shall be salt & ray

                                                finned . . . shells broken under bare feet   & horizon broken by tide

waves to carry sandbars   as rows of teeth open a weighted chest . . . as treasure

founders in a shallow artery . . . as our water & flesh crashes against a blue


& he shall preserve our island place & deliver us to refuge . . . compass us toward horns

                                                                                                        of barchan as roots anchor & release

as stolon hearts in adventitious years   & he shall walk into a refraction of emerald

                                                                                      for there the flode is shold . . . standis stillist.



 He shall walk in a fractured valley   & a wellbored path shall fall under

           his bare feet shall pulse with the slick blood propped in his veins . . . a sternum broken

swollen water leads to a precordial quake of history   from seafloor to estuary

                                                                   to longleaf & to outcrop . . . our most dire recount clast

& perfused among our riven rock   as a transumpt of the labor of our hands

                                 so our sins forever flow . . . unatoned & alone . . . I walk to the mountain

& in my hand I carry a vessel of brackish grace & a cone of penitent pine

or mi sone þat hange apon þat croice . . . reuli on me behelde.



BRENT HOUSE, an editor for The Gulf Stream: Poems of the Gulf Coast and a contributing editor for The Tusculum Review, is a native of Necaise, Mississippi, where he raised cattle and watermelons on his family’s farm. Slash Pine Press published his first collection, The Saw Year Prophecies, and his poems have appeared in journals such as Colorado Review, Cream City Review, Denver Quarterly, The Journal, and Third Coast. New poems are forthcoming in The Kenyon Review and elsewhere.