Poet and teaching artist Gary Copeland Lilley, a native of North Carolina who has lived in Port Townsend 13 years, is the new artistic curator of Centrum's Port Townsend Writers Conference. Diane Urbani de la Paz/Peninsula Daily News

From “The Hog Killing,” a chapbook by Gary Copeland Lilley (Blue Horse Press, 2018)

From “The Hog Killing,” a chapbook by Gary Copeland Lilley (Blue Horse Press, 2018)

If you are twenty miles from a city and a dance every Friday night at Hillcrest Gardens, and you live a quarter-mile from Sandy Cross crossroad and the same distance in the other direction towards Joppa Baptist Church, and Bill Jordan’s white liquor joint is five miles north of there but the Hillcrest run takes you instead down Low Ground Road, through thick piney-woods, and every now a pocket of houses to the south, to the bog where the big bucks walk the hunting season (the old folk say this is a haunted piece of land) on both sides of that short bridge barely big enough for two vehicles side by side, it’s like a driveway that crosses over the blackwater river, and around the curve from there, in the cornfield stubble, in the gloam, the flock of wild turkeys gleaning the grain left by the combine, the nine graveyards on the low ground route, the separate boneyards for blacks and whites, at night a heavy fog always rises over this road.

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