Mock Orange in April, West Virginia

by Robert Hill Issue: Spring 2018
The rose bush wrests a bloom or three
from dry sticks still standing, greening
now like the burning bushes out front,

early mountain irises borne from Georgia.
They struggle to return, but our mock
orange has mocked itself this week, just

the last few days, all those wispy petals
lying around their own beginnings. It must
have looked around, smelled its orange

forgery, shuffled its limbs like a dandy
Dorian seeking its basest base, months
before the wintry stark, and then, one mid-

morning in the aftermath of dew, began to
fall on me and my dog, flicks like breath
all white and drifting in the draft of our passing.


Robert Hill

Robert Hill was born in Anniston and reared in Charlotte, NC. He taught at Converse College, Clemson University, Tri-County Technical College, Erskine College, Furman University, Kennesaw State University, SUWG, and Marshall University. He is temporarily in despair over politics (2018), but in no despair about being married, with three children, three grandchildren, three godchildren, and three dogs. He is pleased to have published poems in Appalachian Journal, Ascent, Birmingham Poetry Review,  North Carolina Literary Review, Old Red Kimono, Shenandoah, South Carolina Review, Southern Poetry Review, Southern Review, and others. Co-author of James Dickey (Twayne, 1983) with Richard J. Calhoun, he has also published articles/interviews on Beattie, Bottoms, Colonial preachers, Captain Cook, Dickey, Frost, Hannah, Hopkins, Hudgins, Nemerov, Steadman, Yeats, et. al.