poem index

poet

Ansel Elkins

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Ansel Elkins

Ansel Elkins is the author of Blue Yodel (Yale University Press, 2015). She lives in Greensboro, North Carolina.

by this poet

poem

River was my first word
after mama.
I grew up with the names of rivers
on my tongue: the Coosa,
the Tallapoosa, the Black Warrior;
the sound of their names
as native to me as my own.

I walked barefoot along the brow of Lookout Mountain
with my father, where

2
poem

Wearing nothing but snakeskin
boots, I blazed a footpath, the first
radical road out of that old kingdom
toward a new unknown.
When I came to those great flaming gates
of burning gold,
I stood alone in terror at the threshold
between Paradise and Earth.
There I heard a