Jae Dyche


Driving to West Virginia on My Father’s Birthday

Other than the rivulets
of ice still clinging
to the cool side of the hollow,
to the cracks in the bone—
white scabs of limestone,
the Alleghenies in April
seem so animate, the spreading,
irregular crowns of redbud,
dogwood, the infant green
of oak and birch, the dallisgrass
gangly and collapsing over
itself, their purple-green spikelets
course and bead-like, the way
my father’s moustache felt—
akin to the way one sees the color
of the goldfinch in the shrub-line,
but never the shape of it,
only a citrine flittering wing
catching light in the periphery
before it’s absolutely gone.
I think, eight years ago
I was supposed to call
my father and didn’t. Or maybe
I think, he’s driving home
from Augusta to Keyser,
of the pulled threads
in the tweed car seats,
how his pastel yellow button-down
had rumpled at the elbows,
the fine near-black hairs skimming
as he slants his head slightly,
late evening meandering
through the rolled-down windows—
albeit, no place for an elegy
in the spindling low pasture
beyond the Hampshire Co. trough,
the air sweet with mayapple
and the earthen pangs
of cattle manure,
a tawny hawk drifting
over Mill Creek Mountain,
weightless as a tatter
of crepe paper or petals
in the hand of a daughter.

Raised in West Virginia, JAE DYCHE’s Appalachian roots are integral to her voice. She received her MFA in Creative Writing (Poetry) from the University of Maryland. Currently living in Virginia, she is a high school ESOL Departmental Chair. Her work appeared in Twyckenham Notes, Backbone Mountain Review, Banango Street, and Calliope, where she served as Production Editor. She is working on her first chapbook.