Blue Clay
William Woolfitt (bio)
Tennessee, 1838

Ruth hurries, gathers, puts back, considers her necessaries, chooses what to leave, what to take
from the house her grandparents built, the woods, the creek with banks of gritty blue clay.

Corn meal, no potatoes. The iron pan, none of the pots her grandmother made. Her grandmother
knew the creek’s richest blue veins, and a secret place on the ridge for dark pipe clay.

She shifts her baby. He doesn’t wake as the soldiers shriek and jeer, stamp out the garden
she coaxed from stubborn soil, sandy mud streaked with clay.

In the curve of her free hand, space for one more thing—fine, cherishable, small, light.
She wants a peach pit, and her grandmother’s burnishing stone, and a pinch of clay.


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