Joshua Butts

Union Hill Road

Expanse: room here,
never so high,
near the low Serpent hill.

Interior: brother string lines,
quilt, sock,
quilt, sock, nightmare.

Expanse: arbor beltway,
ear pressure, wire weed train,
oak, smoke, oak.

Interior: television,
cable box,
dust on the wooden spoons.

Expanse: tire pressure, hum and wind,
a steeple here somewhere,
a cellular vacuum.

Interior: chilly, pepper jelly,
couch, hutch, broom,
painting tiers.

Expanse: arbor beltway,
all creatures
fresh and nostalgic.

Interior: city, city, city
city, city,
city, city, city, city.

Expanse: top of the hill line,
shades lighten
with distance and rain.

(Interior: collapsed,
restored to wind,

Expanse, Expanse, Expanse



Chenoweth Fork Road

Take me down Chenoweth across Sunfish creek
and we could pan for gold, we could take off
our shoes and place our feet in the cold, cold.
We could help him cut that big field of grass
or give the dough faced child over there someone
to catch the ball and someone to throw it back.
Take me down Chenoweth and we’ll hope the water
hasn’t risen over the road and we can make it
to the covered dish.  Take me down Chenoweth
and eventually we’ll get to Poplar Grove
and then end up at Smoky Corners, Grooms, Arkoe,
or back over near Bacon Flat or Pine Gap,
or over to Duke, Hatch, Lad or Latham.
(Of course we’d cross the Ap a few times
and wouldn’t really be lost.) Or we could just
chase our way to Sinking Spring, trying to find
the water.  We could go down Chenoweth
to the Pine Bank Boer Goat Farm
and check out the spotted breeding program.
They start kidding soon, a few does for sale.
Take me down to the Pine Bank Boer Goat Farm
and we’ll check out sires and dams: does and bucks by
War Chief & Cruel Girl, Rhubarb & Ruby Begonia,
Egg Ryals Magnum & Sasquatch, Shanghai Red & Pine Bank
Thelma, Algonquin & Buckler’s Romie,
Mason Dixon & Pine Bank Paint Spot, Bosque
Valley Sharif Demetrius & Wiltshire Farm’s
Bubbles.  Take me down Chenoweth, we’ll
run along the whole way, singing songs,
reciting poems—troubadours. We’ll saunter up to the meal
held in a garage—miles of casserole & grace
before we eat.  Take me down Chenoweth—
we’ll look for a church and a graveyard;
we could have our picnic.
You bring the wine. I’ll bring the deviled eggs.
Surely we can find a tree to camp under.
Take me down Chenoweth—maybe we can locate
some high stakes bingo or a carryout
with video poker. Take me down Chenoweth—
this guy I know out there deals in feathers.
He’s got whole birds, three for a dollar.




Cove Road

Cuddly in your sound branches make you over,
clayed ditches salamander

but this isn’t a ghazal or trash party or pill-headed crisis.
Those that know you are treacherous on their own

in the deepest, most natural woods.
Pick a driveway and the dead get up and go home.

There was a puddle near the back of a property
where no fire would be lit until the pine settled

and once the fire was lit they’d talk of
the carbureted land and something about a lake,

a cove, beautiful, 60’s big-cheeked face,
moors where the letters spell out A-M-E-R-I-C-A

like an advertisement for that failed band, one
issued for Detroit, advertising this one can sing!

and all along it should’ve been about Cove Road,
the lonely brilliance on the terrain—

Cove Road, the way we avoid and attract him, her
and then it’s all over.