Edison Jennings

Coal Town Girls

The county bus is running late.
The Corby sisters shake with cold
beside the blacktop road and wait,
the eldest nine, the other, eight,
old enough to do as told
on days the bus is running late,
and though they’re teased about their weight,
each has a sister’s hand to hold
while they shake and stare and wait. 
Their mother calls them both mistakes,
and they keep quiet while she scolds.
But when she drinks and stays up late
they pray their father comes home straight,
if and when he gets paroled
(a time they’re both resigned to wait). 
They’re coal town girls with coal town traits,
their hopes long since tapped-out and sold.
So they shake and stare and wait
but there’s no bus, and it’s too late.

Edison Jennings is a part-time teacher living in the southwestern Appalachian region of Virginia. His poetry has appeared in American Journal of Poetry, Boulevard, Kenyon Review, Poetry Daily, Rattle, Slate, Southwest Review, TriQuarterly, and other journals and anthologies. His chapbook, Reckoning, is available from Jacar Press.



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