15 poems from Paul’s Hill, ranging from hogs and mules to some of Shelby’s first musings on his family graveyard and “the bones among the slaves’ graves.”
The title comes to us subtly, midway through, in this brilliant sequencing of stanzas that moves from a dove hunt to a swamp, where a still suggests moonshine, white lightning, and then a wine-fueled respite:
Finch’s Mash, a swamp where ants swarm, steamlegged.
A still with coppertubing runs apple brandy.
Up shoots the moon, its beauty pot on the palate
brewed in the belly of quick, white lightning!
Wine trickles the size of a broomstraw into a barrel
halfburied in the Bridge Old Field.
Lowering a bottle on a string,
I feel it stop on the meal, guggling
full, the tug, bottle to my lips,
beads on top like number 6-shot. . .