Monday Mar 27

HuddleDavid David Huddle is from Ivanhoe, Virginia, and he’s lived in Vermont for 42 years. His fiction, poetry, and essays have appeared in The American Scholar, Esquire, Appalachian Heritage, The New Yorker, Harper’s, Shenandoah, Agni, The Sow’s Ear, Plume, and The Georgia Review. His Black Snake at the Family Reunion was a finalist for the 2013 Library of Virginia Award for Poetry and won the 2013 Pen New England Award for Poetry. His novel, The Faulkes Chronicle, is forthcoming from Tupelo Press in September 2014, and a new book poetry, Domestic Strange, is scheduled for publication by LSU Press in Fall 2015.


Even Then I knew
for Lisa Fay Coutley

Our mother was often desperate
because of my brothers and me—once

she threw the dish drainer at Charles,
slapped the back of Bill’s head so that

his face plopped down into his spaghetti
and what did she get for that? More boy

guffaws in our victory over her self-control.
Our mother wore little mascara, served her sentence

of three sons in a house at the end of a dirt road
in a time of no post-it notes, two channels on TV,

no shrinks, no antidepressants, and her only role model
was Mrs. Perkins who one afternoon rode Toby’s bicycle

down Church Hill, skirts fluttering over her thighs,
to buy a six-pack of Pabst Blue Ribbon. Decorum

meant everything to our mother, and if someone had told
my brothers and me that mothers can drive away,

that would have frozen us in place like a game
of statues before Charles would have said Oh yeah,
and where would she go? and Bill would have said Maybe
down to the Post Office? And me? I’d have been

scared, because I loved her way more than my Roy Rogers
silver cap pistols with their white fringed holsters,

but finally I’d have found something real
funny to say.

Sex Sentence

I opine most women feel
vaguely erotic almost
all the time whereas men
sporadically feel
specifically erotic
when stimulated by certain
visual phenomena
knowingly or unknowingly
created out of the vaguely
erotic (and often witty)
ladies’ fashion impulses
into which I dare not delve
for fear of pissing off some
dear friends but generally
related to the subtly
revealed in juxtaposition
with the enticingly
concealed, so that in ideal
circumstances a vaguely
erotic aura engages
a specifically erotic
potential thereby
producing a sexual
combustion wished for by both
parties, though mathematically
speaking the ignition
occurs randomly more
often than by design, thus
resulting in awkward, sad,
idiotic, bizarre, unpleasant,
sometimes even felonious
behavior, the possibility
of which so discourages
women they seek the company
of other women so that
the vaguely erotic may
be safely manifested
in conversation and so
frightens men they go back
to Manland where they hang out
with their brothers & concoct
fabulous narratives
of their specifically
erotic adventures
& astonishing triumphs.


Bird bams window behind him,
startling a Jesus out of him,
so he stands, steps out, finds
a fist-sized finch knocked still,
scarlet neck dangling its head
in the slot between bench slats.
Our man’s partially evolved
empathy kicks in, along with
some guilt—his feeder summoned
the bird to his porch—and a desire
to hold so small a thing. Ever so
carefully he lifts the finch,
feels its life flicker, little
flame about to sputter out, cups
the bird between his palms, softly
thumbs its chest to jiggle its heart
to keep the beat. What’s a finch
to a man? What’s a man to a finch?
Two-way dime-a-dozen. The man sits
on his bench, mindless as the bird
warming in his hands. Wits absent,
maybe coming back sometime soon.