“THERE’S NO THROUGH TRAIL” —HAN-SHAN, TRANSLATED BY GARY SNYDER
/ Our Last Name

Our Last Name

by Andrew Weller

I extended the wells of the W below the signature line 
like some pit I knew to make. 
My ancestors dug towards hell and water 
and if the present indicates anything about the past, 

they lined their throats with stones.
They lived by pulling water from the ground
and some died crushed under their work.
A well can become your own grave

if you’re the one digging the well.
Drinking is a weller’s reward 
and vice. A history is bottled within us. 
If the past indicates anything, our name fits 

on that line I signed to drop off letters 
for my brother at his recovery center.
I hoped I responded to everything he asked.
I asked everything I could think

besides if he felt that slow closing 
of earth, those years of droplets falling 
into this stone pit we call 
our last name.

Andrew Weller

About Andrew Weller

Andrew R. Weller, from Pennsylvania, retells personal experience through his lyric-narrative poetry. Oftentimes, Andrew writes poems as a means of processing the world around him. He is a student of English at The Pennsylvania State University, where he has received the Cranage and Mihelcic Awards in Poetry. Beyond his classes and poems, Andrew works as a technical writer and teaches composition.

Cold Mountain Review is published once a year in the Department of English at Appalachian State University. Support from Appalachian’s Office of Academic Affairs and College of Arts and Sciences enables CMR’s learning and publications program. The views and opinions expressed in CMR do not necessarily reflect those of university trustees, administration, faculty, students, or staff.