men name the hills--
Grab-A-Nickel, Brownton Mountain, Rattler
As if by naming, they might force friendship
And coax a livelihood from the rocky soil.
all they coax is coal,
Hard nubs that feed outsiders
Who own the underground trails
Where men crawl like ants.
Those who work the mines
Cajole nothing but black withered lungs
To match the ore they find.
They soon reflect their land,
Craggy faces hard-etched out of stone.
when the winter snows silence even the wind,
And thin, blue smoke reaches to mingle with
The hills seem a refuge: to sleep among
Is to lay your head upon your mother's lap
C. Barnhill’s work has appeared in a number
of literary magazines and anthologies including,
most recently, The Antietam Review, and
RACING HOME: New Stories from Award-Winning
North Carolina Writers. Other publications
include the story, “Washing Helen’s Hair,”
from the Grammy-nominated anthology, Grow
Old Along With Me, and “The Swing,” from
Generation to Generation. She has received
an Emerging Artist
Grant, a Regional Artist Grant and a writer’s
residency at the Syvenna Foundation in Texas.
She has been selected as a Blumenthal Reader
twice and her stories have won several awards,
including the Porter Fleming Fiction Award
from the Augusta, Georgia Arts Council.