Old Timer to Grandchild

Appalachia mountains

This article originally appeared in Southern Exposure Vol. 10 No. 1, "Who Owns Appalachia?" Find more from that issue here.

And so our kinfolks let themselves

be sweet-talked into believing

that things would be the same.

They let some Philadelphia lawyers

tell them they could sell the yolk

and keep the egg, and with that few cents

they built a room onto the house

or somesuch. And now the yolk owners

are claiming their gold, and squashing

the shell and letting it fall howsumever

it falls. Let folks talk about our

backward days. I like it. If forward’s

what’s been coming in right here lately,

I’d go into backup if I could. Back up

to the little creeks with fish in them,

the trees with birds, the caves with

animals, the air clean and smelling

of hay and apples. If forward’s now,

then I feel sorry for the ones who’ll

never know. But you will remember

a little bit. You tell them birds

do fly low before a storm.

— Lillie D. Chaffin