The January Recollection: "Boreas"
The physical setting is the same as we find in "O Christmas Tree," the poem for December: a dairy farm in northern Yadkin County, a hundred acres of pasture, wood, and field. But time has passed, and I am a little older, maybe eight or nine instead of five or six. My father has been working this farm for nearly seven years. Since cows have to be milked twice a day, every day, he has had no vacation. He has no brothers or cousins to share in the work, so he is on duty every day, whether it's hot or cold, whether he is sick or well.
When my parents separated, after Dad sold the cows and took up trucking, I blamed myself for their marital problems—a tendency for many children of separation and divorce. If I had been a better hand around the barn, if I had been older and stronger. . .Of course, I had no understanding of the sexual drama playing in the background. So I prayed, and prayed. If I was a good boy, wouldn't God answer my prayer?
I found myself at the mercy of a cold god, a god of winter, of wrath.
The poem was first published in Appalachian Heritage, now known as Appalachian Review.