Legends Rooted in the Bayou by John C. Mannone


When the banshee cry and the full moon glows

When the gators hide and the old man knows


And the thin grass shudders in a hot swamp wind

See shadows coming they split and bend


Hear echoes chatter inside your ears

The shattered whispers the deafening fears


They come unfrozen from their sleep

Tread blackened waters & quicksand deep


Closer now knuckle-rooted steps advancing—

The gnarled muscle bark the monsters dancing


These bayou banyans sway and sweep and fall

Their arms like mallets cracking stone and skull


When the banshee cry and the full moon glows

When the gators hide and the old man knows what he used to be


So in his cypress rocker he now waits

for hollow-heart monsters and stems of fate


With a sawed-off shotgun on his lap

He prays escape from the demons’ trap


Prays the silver shot is untarnished

Prays that his finger doesn’t shake


Nor will his own heart turn to ashes

Or his soul to splinter-break


John C. Mannone has work in Artemis Journal, Poetry South, Blue Fifth ReviewNew England Journal of MedicinePeacock Journal, Gyroscope ReviewBaltimore Review, Pedestal, Pirene’s Fountain, and others. He’s the 2019 Dwarf Stars Anthology editor, a Horror Writers Association Scholarship winner (2017), a Jean Ritchie Fellowship winner in Appalachian literature (2017) and the celebrity judge for the National Federation of State Poetry Societies (2018). He has three poetry collections: Apocalypse (Alban Lake Publishing), which won 3rd place in the 2017 Elgin Book Award; Disabled Monsters (The Linnet’s Wings Press) was featured at the 2016 Southern Festival of Books; and Flux Lines forthcoming in 2019 has love-related poems using science metaphors. He’s been nominated for Pushcart, Rhysling, and Best of the Net awards. He edits poetry for Abyss & ApexSilver Blade, and Liquid Imagination. He’s a retired professor of physics living between Knoxville and Chattanooga, TN. http://jcmannone.wordpress.com


Published 8/15/19