Basin Ghosts is a chapbook of original poems by Jesse Graves, author of Tennessee Landscape with Blighted Pine. Many poems in Basin Ghosts address places and themes that resonated in Graves’s first collection, which won both the Weatherford Award and the Appalachian Writers’ Association Book of the Year Award in Poetry. The poems in Basin Ghosts examine life in the rural South, changes that have occurred over generations in communities there, and the ways in which the past lives on through memory and attachment to the land.
Leora never walked the quarter-mile of red dust
to her bench at Big Sinks schoolhouse
without carrying the hand-sewn satchel
she used for an accordion case.
The notes came to her out of some darkness,
a cavity just inside her ear
where the curve of a sound pushed through
her fingers and into the buttons of that strange machine.
Where did the accordion come from?
The imprint read Vienna Austria 1904
and how it arrived to her in Capps Creek,
Tennessee, the middle of the middle of nowhere
will pass like the mystery of cloudburst,
some graceful symmetry beyond this world
and beyond the next.
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