Nancy Simpson, a N.C. Arts Council Fellowship recipient, is the author of three poetry collections: Across Water, Night Student and most recently Living Above the Frost Line: New and Selected Poems published in 2010 by Carolina Wren Press. She co-founded N.C. Writers’ Network West, a nonprofit, professional writing organization serving writers living in the remote mountains west of Asheville. Her poems have been published in literary magazines and reprinted in the books Literary Trails of the North Carolina Mountains and Word and Wisdom: 100 Years of N.C. Poetry. She lives in Hayesville.
It was a clear day across the vista,
mountain ridges tufted with red oaks
and sugar maples turning a bittersweet orange,
joy in my heart a moment exploding
before I learned ships sank in lower Manhattan,
the fleet of two. On their decks passengers
from different nations traveling together,
screamed for their lives. Some tried to fly
through portholes. That day,
I learned the meaning of the word
machination: a secret scheme of artful design
intended to cause evil, that September day,
joy in my heart gone gray as ash.