Foy S. Iver

Deb Foy 2Foy is the winner of Vol 3 – 6 and Vol 3 – 12, Vol 3 – 13 and Vol 3 – 22. She grew up in the blue heights and hollows of North Carolina, climbing waterfalls with her innumerable siblings, and feeding a demanding muse. Though she now lives in apple fields of Virginia, those crags still haunt her dreams. 

***

Vol 3 – 22We Rest on Thee

Gray breaches blue.
Then eclipses it.
Consumes it.
Fear takes over; the illusion of control lost. Chemicals push through turgid veins; oxygen floods the organism; rational thought gives way to reflex.

This is it. I’m gonna die.

Lone pines on smoke-colored mountains. Biscuits and bitter coffee. Momma stringing green beans.

We rest on Thee, our Shield and our Defender;
We go not forth alone against the foe.

Yellow, orange, black, heat swelling. Salt stings eye-flesh, mouth like cotton. Ground rising up with deadly force, eager to embrace that burning carcass.

Strong in Thy strength, safe in Thy keeping tender.
We rest on Thee, and in Thy name we go.

Angry words unrepented, lies too late to disentangle, a heart kept closed.

We go in faith, our own great weakness feeling,
And needing more each day Thy grace to know.

Teeth set to teeth. The limbic system signals the bladder to void, warmth spreads between clenched legs.

“We’ve all committed crimes, Son.” Preacher’s red hand strikes his back in love. “Let Jesus be your lawyer!”

Christ! Help me.

Impact. Steel crushing inward, groaning. Head whipped forward, brain numb.

Sounds without edges.

Singing.

Yet from our hearts a song of triumph pealing;
We rest on Thee, and in Thy Name we go.

***

Vol 3-13: Dead Fruit

Leah hopes for what I have. That’s why she comes less.

“I brought roots,” she says, the smell of manure and earthworms clinging to her. Carrots and potatoes tumble from her apron and thud onto the oaken slab.

“No fruit?” I stay rocking, my fingers entwined with burlap-brown yarn, a blanket for my angel-boy.

“William and me didn’t get much from the trees.” Barren as a babe and too ignorant to see the jab. “This one’s for pain,”–hands rough as a man’s hold up green herbs–“an’ this one’s for sleep.”

“Reckon I’ll need that.” My cheeriness unhidden. “Way he keeps us up at night, Silas has taken to sleeping with the mare.”

Her felt-gray eyes peg me, ruddy cheeks ugly with envy. Does William ever regret picking her?

She turns and I stand. “Do you have to leave? Don’t you wanna hold him?” I scoop our baby from his cradle. “He sleeps deep as death.”

My hips sway and when a tear slides down her plain face, I almost feel for her.

“Naomi,” she’s saying and my muscles stiffen. “Please, let us bury him?”

Hatred, a freshly filed axe, cuts through the sapling of sympathy taking root.

“Get out!” I scream it, clinging to my future, my hope.

***

Vol 3 – 12: Remorse

What would I say to you, if given a voice? How to tell you, “I’m sorry?”

We’re bound by strictest laws; directives we dare not defy. Our ways and our wanderings set forth before time was.

What of those I robbed?

Your mother, Irish roots recently torn from grassy heights, and commanded to take hold in that strange soil. Ever after, she was a ship marooned in desert ocean. I watched over her, caressed her salty cheeks with zephyric fingers. The garden flourished that year, small apology.

And your father, coal miner by blood, bore the weight on worn shoulders. He had such plans for you! That day you went out, the dog paced the shore, calling in her guttural tongue, but you didn’t answer. It was a betrayal in his eyes. Why hadn’t she warned them? A week after he took out his pain on her body, unremitting blows until she lay still.

Your siblings? They didn’t understand. “Where’s Phillip gone?” They’d ask, with never a good answer.

My sorrow is nothing to theirs but when I remember you, clinging to that skiff, your boots dragging you down; as I relive that moment, filling your lungs, and 12 years of a soul, slipping from your body, it rains.

 ***

Vol 3 – 6: The Dead Belong to the Vulture

I know a hunger that compels self-preservation to bend before it. You think it a lie, seeing me this way, Lord of the Spoils.

That gnawing will push you to chase the warm winds, letting them sustain you as shadows stretch, until below, spirit separates from carrion. Then the descent begins, slow, patient, allowing the sun to soften flesh, and the insects to perform their first rite of oviposition.

Other beasts, ambling along the road, will take interest, and try to steal away your prize by brute persuasion but that emptiness shackles you to the corpse, bestowing unnatural boldness.

So was my life before this place.

How could I not stay? When first I caught the incense of a 100 rotting bodies, some white and blue with lividity, others gray and bleeding fresh, I knew hunger was not a word spoken in the shade of this Coliseum.

Men, hiding pink flesh inside blinding armor, poked at me, wishing to drive me away from their slain.
For a time, I would retreat only to circle and come again. They wouldn’t eat it. What god gave them power to deny me my purpose? Persistence and convenience won them over.

Now they house me here, fat and full, Lord of the Spoils.

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