Electric EDGE
Web Edition of
The Ragged Edge
Jan/Feb 1998

Electric Edge


The Stem of Jesse Taliaferro

See him walk back to the burying
ground, scythe bent as his spine,
to mow the sedge, tawny and long,
Rapunzel's braids undone to dry

in the noon sun climbing the blue
stairs he too will mount in time.
With sinewy swipes he lays stalks
in even ricks to rake into piles.

His father culled the Holy Scripture
from Isaiah: "And there shall come
forth a rod out of the stem of Jesse."
So a cussed grace keeps him working.

The red clay rots family backbones,
molds rascals into angels who play
stone harps in grass until hushed,
when again man and mowing are done.

Edward C. Lynskey

"The Stem of Jesse Taliaferro" originally appeared in Borderlands Texas Poetry Review No. 7 (Fall/Winter 1995)


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