Kelly Cherry

Yard Art in Georgia
July 25, 2016 Cherry Kelly

Yard Art in Georgia


Their presence was sudden.

A two-lane highway——

And there they were,

Life-size wood

Cutouts of people.

Or cardboard?


Faces and clothes

Painted on. A woman

Wearing a frown, a man

In overalls, children,

A dog or two,

A cat or three.


Standing close to the fence

And farther up the road,

On the other side, more,

standing; more, silent. Huddled

Together, as if

To meet the enemy,

Though not yet belligerent, just

Cautious. Waiting.


I felt a prickle on the back of my neck.

I realized my teeth were clenched.


Back on the first side, a third group

Flourishing shovels and rakes.

The curious children were as wary

As their parents, who

Were whispering, most of them——a sound like hissing.

A blue sky made the horror more intense

As they ran after us, throwing

Their shovels, waving

Their sharp-toothed rakes.

Kelly Cherry has recently published Twelve Women in a Country Called America: Stories (Press 53); A Kelly Cherry Reader (SFASUP); A Kind of Dream: Stories(U of Wisconsin); and a poetry chapbook titled Physics for Poets (Unicorn Press). A new full-length collection of poems is forthcoming from L.S.U. Press in 2017.