Published: November 16th, 2015
Cory is currently an English teacher at Sullivan Central High School in Blounteville, Tennessee where he teaches American Literature. He is a graduate from East Tennessee State University, where he received a B.A. in English Education. He has been published in The Mockingbird, The American Aesthetic, and other online publications. Cory's clear, simplistic poetic voice conveys themes such as change, a search for identity, and coming-of-age moments through snapshots of everyday images and encounters.
I found a surfboard once under a tree,
Along a bank of the Cherokee Lake.
A dirty, faded, wooden plank.
Quilted clouds covered the sun as I
Pushed it out to see if it could keep its head up.
I waded among floating leaves
In a shallow bay near our campsite,
A gray ribbon of smoke snaked up from a pit.
Treading water, holding tight, examining
My vessel, I pulled myself on board.
I lay down on the board, watching the clouds,
Arms outstretched. My knuckles drug along
The water as I drifted nowhere. Shivering in the
Midmorning air, I rode a forgotten surfboard in a
Valley cove, floating away at the age of thirteen.
.She skips through the halls
Like an ancient druid,
Dancing an imagined step
To the tempo of heart
Monitors across the hall.
Her hair, a blonde waterfall,
Splashing off playful shoulders.
Her blue eyes, wedding bells,
Shining and singing
Songs of youth.
The room transforms into
A pasture of wildflowers.
She runs her hands along the petals.
At her expression of childhood,
This swollen emergency room fills with life.
God, to have the grace of a child,
To turn a hospital into a meadow.
Drive After Rain
I pleaded with him, “Just one drive
Dad?” He would give his signature silent
Stare off into the distance. It always meant no.
On the first day of spring, after rain,
My chin buried in my palms, on the porch
Where I’d watch him work, He asked,
“Wanna take the Vette out?” We would
Do this every Sunday; him, me, windows
Down and The Stones on the radio.
He tossed me the key, and from my surprise
I dropped it, never expecting to drive
His Volunteer orange ’79 Corvette.
I drove through our three red light town,
Five over the speed limit. No music, no top.
Just the vibrations from the gas pedal.
For a half hour I was my dad. Sixteen,
Wandering the country, looking for anything
That didn’t remind me of the house I grew up in.
Hiding away, silent, still.
Your woven traps loom above my door.
I wish you dead, yet I know your worth.
You watch over my dusty doorway,
Charon keeping Styx and flickered dead
Scraping toward the light inside.
In a Cafe
He sits down slowly
In the booth across from me,
His ears long as power lines,
Stretching down leaf-covered roads.
His booth is empty. No one to meet,
And nowhere to be.
I wonder why he comes here alone,
Sipping stale coffee paid for in change,
All while humming an old country duet,
Watching people hurry through the lines.
He looks at me with eyes like bagged
Groceries ready for the bus ride home.
I nod to avoid seeming strange but
We are both alone, watching people.