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Priscilla Long

Strip Mine

Dickinson County, Virginia

Frontier Cabin by William Louis Sonntag, Sr.

One old woman still lives
down in the holler.
Mineguards block the road
till the sun sinks, Earth tilts
its load of fallen trees.

In the Appalachian night
Brushy Ridge caves
into Nuce Creek.
Floodwaters rise to hickory
root, fox pup, bear cub.

No more the hawk’s cry.
No more, the fiddle’s air.


About the writer:
Priscilla Long is a Seattle-based writer of poetry, creative nonfiction, science, history, and fiction, and a long-time independent teacher of writing. Her seventh book is Dancing with the Muse in Old Age (Coffeetown, 2022). Her two poetry books are Holy Magic (MoonPath Press) and Crossing Over: Poems (University of New Mexico Press). Her how-to-write book is The Writer’s Portable Mentor: A Guide to Art, Craft, and the Writer’s Life. She is also author of a guide for creators, Minding the Muse, and a history of coalmining in the United States. She grew up on a dairy farm on the Eastern Shore of Maryland. Explore more of Long’s work in Chester River Reverie, her new poetry pamphlet now in release as a free PDF from Buttonhook Press.

Image: Frontier Cabin by William Louis Sonntag, Sr. (1822-1900). Watercolor, guache, and graphite on off-white wove paper. 9.6 x 15.2 inches. 1894. Public domain.

OJAL Art Incorporated, publishing since 2017 as OPEN: Journal of Arts & Letters (O:JA&L) and its imprint Buttonhook Press, is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit corporation supporting writers and artists worldwide.

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