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

Wisteria

by John York

The excavator scraped and made
a wide, shallow trench—
dirt waiting for a sidewalk—
pushed away leaf and feeler, 
the split rail fence supporting the shrub.

But the machine could not pull up
the thick nest of snaky naked vines.            

Beware the roots, the dreaming 
amputee straining
under the concrete, plotting to defeat
the pine, the maple, the oak,
beware the clutching tendril, Maytime’s
sweet purple tongues.

John York

About John York

John Thomas York grew up in the hill country of northwestern North Carolina. In 2003, he was named Outstanding English Teacher of the Year by the NC English Teachers Association. In 2012, Press 53 published his first full-length collection, Cold Spring Rising. His work has been recently published or is forth-coming from Tar River Poetry and Pine Mountain Sand and Gravel. He attended ASU for his first two years of college, and his poems appeared, 1974, in the first two numbers of Cold Mountain Review.

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.