Terri's first book, Thread Count, was published AuthorHouse in 2006
Queen Anne’s Lace
Queen Anne’s lace dandies up
a ditch, like embroidered hankies
in a farmer’s pocket.
Such tiny seed-pearl petals
seem hand-sewn by
seraphim to their purple
centers—yet they thrive
in common places, fine as tatted
borders, blanket-stitched to burlap.
Papa Never Learned to Read
Granny sat under a shade tree,
fanning herself with corn shucks,
while Papa stood waist-deep in
the river, baptizing. Folks rose up,
sputtering, and waded back to shore—
their sodden dresses and pant legs
heavy against their skin, their souls
light as Easter lilies. “I see no need
for such as that,” Granny said, to
anyone who asked. Still, she read
Papa scripture—the words warmed
by her breath and scattered into his
brain like dandelion seeds—where
once a week, they grew into a sermon.
Washing My Baby’s Hair over the Kitchen Sink
There is the weight of her small, solid head in my hand
and the feel of warm water, sluicing through her hair.
Eyes the soft blue-gray of herons’ wings,
follow my new-mother face, glowing.
Enthralled with each other, we
coo like doves in the milk-
scented air that my baby
breathes out and I
Pulled like rotten teeth from the open mouths
of mineshafts, massive pyramids of gleaming
coal dot the landscape of Kanawha County.
Coal dust fine and black as pulverized midnight,
covers everything for miles. Rows of ramshackle
houses kneel by the river like washer women
with their knees in river muck, and jagged
mountains cut the slate-gray sky
to ribbons. But the Kanawha River is long
and winding, and leads to a lone Ferris wheel
rising up from the bottomland, jaunty
as an Easter bonnet. Its rainbow-colored gondolas
call to mind a different tune than the dismal dirges
of Black Lung and White Damp. They carry the sound
of children’s laughter through the ground
and into the mines, like light.