Rose McLarney

Rose McLarney
Rose McLarney's book, The Always Broken Plates of Mountains, will be published by Four Way Books in 2012. Her poems won Alligator Juniper's 2011 National Poetry Prize and have appeared or are forthcoming in publications including The Kenyon Review, Orion, Painted Bride Quarterly, and others. McLarney earned her M.F.A. from Warren Wilson's M.F.A. Program for Writers and is the Joan Beebe Teaching Fellow at the college. She grew up in rural western North Carolina, where she continues to live on an old farm.

At The Mountain State Fair

That'll do,
the herdsman calls
to his collies,
but they are deaf to him.

Rides are lighting up the night,
shaking people and making them shriek.

It does not matter that the dogs
could not do their work.
There was no crowd.

Animals and flowers
are not what they come for

If he stood beneath
the Ferris wheel saying Away,

it would listen.
Turning, turning from him.


After they clear cut his family land
to put in the interstate,

the timber was left to lay and rot.
So he restores the tools his great grandfather

used, harvesting a few trees
that were ancient even then.

He clamps the saws—rip saws,
coping saws—to steady them,

and sharpens. He mills the wood,
cuts it to length, and assembles it.

He twists pegs out of a scrap, pounds
them into screw holes, knocks the excess off,

and sands it all smooth.     
Then layers on a dozen coats of finish.

When the table is dry,
he sits pots on it, straight from the stove.

No hint of the heat shows
in his thick polish,

and he says nothing against change,
or about missing that deep, familiar shade.