Cumberland Island

— Derrick Austin

It was the Spanish or
                                        English who brought these famous horses
when this place was called Florida,
                                                          whose descendants
still gallop on this Georgia coast and lean their muzzles into cordgrass.
                                                                  How many generations does it take
to become feral, to be no longer broken in?
Shining trunks, waist-high grasses, light
                              knotting mossy limbs. Resin on your fingers and salt
                                                                  on mine.
Looking at this guide book’s sepia wildlife photos,
you’d never know anyone lived here before the horses.
                                        The Mocama didn’t find them useful.
Lapping water under slash pines, the horses jolt, moving me
toward a joy I did not give myself
                                                          room to consider
trying my damnedest to live
                                                          in this vulgar country
bracketed by water—


Read more from Issue No. 11 or share on Facebook and Twitter.