Mid-October, and around the rocks of Devil’s Denlegions of cabbage white butterflies marchin wild disorder, like scattered clouds of ashesin the late-day light. Under the blank staring eyesof bronze generals we negotiate windingdirt paths among boulders encrusted with shapelesspatches like grey-green lace: when I visitedGettysburg as a child with my parents, I imaginedthose splotches on the rocks to be long-weatheredremnants of spattered blood. I know nowthey’re lichens, fungi and algae interdependent,forming a perfect union, and the real remainsof those three savage, scorching daystwelve-pound cannons belching thundermortar shells whistling and explodingmen and horses down, the woundedcrawling screaming cursingare less obvious. At the outskirts of that regimentof massive stones, a line of golden foxtails nodsin the breeze; a mockingbird whistles its contorted song,mosquitoes whine past our ears. On the hillsidenear Little Round Top withered stems of Solomon’sseal bearing shreds of twisted, frost-bleachedleaves lie flattened on the ground, their red fruitsspilling like tears down the grassy bank,deepening shadows assembling around themin pools of blue and grey. [End Page 33]
Carol Grametbauer writes poetry in Kingston, Tennessee, where she is chair of the board of directors of Tennessee Mountain Writers. Her poems have appeared in Appalachian Heritage, POEM, The Cabinet, The Kerf, Still: The Journal, Fluent, and Maypop; and in The Southern Poetry Anthology, Volume VI: Tennessee and Remember September: Prompted Poetry. Her chapbook, Now & Then, was released by Finishing Line Press in March 2014.