Shallow Water Over Sand
I have seen this color before, in my mother’s shift-robe,
on old dresses her mother might have worn, blue-green,
delicate shade, like shallow water over white sand,
now in my palm, on a button I picked off the pavement
in the grocery store parking lot, color of thread stitched
into quilts made by hands born the century before last.
Jesse Graves is the Poet-in-Residence and Professor of English at East Tennessee State University. He was awarded the 2015 James Still Award for Writing about the Appalachian South from the Fellowship of Southern Writers and the 2014 Phillip H. Freund Award in Creative Writing from Cornell University. Recent poems appear or are forthcoming in issues of Prairie Schooner, Blackbird, Carolina Quarterly, Southern Cultures, andThe Missouri Review. Graves’ first poetry collection, Tennessee Landscape with Blighted Pine, was published in 2011, and was awarded the Weatherford Award in Poetry from Berea College, and the Book of the Year Award in Poetry from the Appalachian Writers’ Association. He is the co-editor of three volumes of The Southern Poetry Anthology, and of the forthcoming Complete Poems of James Agee. Basin Ghosts, his second book of poems, was released in spring of 2014, and received the Weatherford Award for Poetry that year. His third collection of poems, Specter Mountain, co-authored with William Wright, was published by Mercer University Press in 2018; and his fourth collection, Merciful Days, was released in 2020. Graves holds a Ph.D. in English from the University of Tennessee.