old cairns direct the next step
gels of light for forgotten light.
medicate until the vanishing hour
water from a thirsting well
damp handkerchief for the brow.
key keeping doors closed
hinge that opens doors
last-ditch claims before departure.
lexicon empty of significance
blue ink slashes red eulogy
broom for words’ irate ash.
my body’s sudden rouge
knave’s heart reveals brave face
become the blushing extrovert.
manna to cleanse all weeping
fables dance with trauma.
quick breath offsets suffering
claims will devolve by morning
cure-all for my unnamed ills.
pulse stills lilies-of-the-valley
velvet sleeve silences the bell
bright bouquets, and sleep’s veil.
Sam Barbee's poems have appeared in Poetry South, The NC Literary Review, Crucible, Asheville Poetry Review, The Southern Poetry Anthology VII: North Carolina, Georgia Journal, Kakalak, and Pembroke Magazine, among others; plus on-line journals Vox Poetica, Sky Island Journal, Courtland Review and The New Verse News.
His second poetry collection, That Rain We Needed (2016, Press 53), was a nominee for the Roanoke-Chowan Award as one of North Carolina’s best poetry collections of 2016. He was awarded an "Emerging Artist's Grant" from the Winston-Salem Arts Council to publish his first collection Changes of Venue (Mount Olive Press); has been a featured poet on the North Carolina Public Radio Station WFDD; received the 59th Poet Laureate Award from the North Carolina Poetry Society for his poem "The Blood Watch"; and is a Pushcart nominee.