From: American Gothic
—Frank Wood

She seemed distracted by the artist’s brush.
Perhaps the fire behind her back, behind
the house and toolshed, made her want to rush
for church where smoke was heavy on her mind.

She might as well have been a nude laid back
against a sofa, bed, or sprawling rug.
He couldn’t know it, but she had a knack
for posing, nipples swollen, Venus snug.

The pitchfork held the man erect and staid.
It gripped his knuckles hard, too fine a tool
for letting loose and letting go, afraid
to use it— and he didn’t, as a rule.

There was no love lost here, nor had there been.
He left a steeple though, and hope therein.




Charles (Charlie) Southerland lives on his farm in North-Central Arkansas where he bales hay, mills lumber, hunts and fishes. When he has time, he writes poetry on just about every subject. He is published in Trinacria, The Rotary Dial, First Things, The Road Not Taken and other journals. He has been nominated for a 2016 Pushcart Prize and is a finalist in the 2015 Howard Nemerov Sonnet Contest. He likes to write sonnets, villanelles and sapphics.