Field Trip

Nancy Dew Taylor

We board this fossil of a bus.
Folded wheelchairs and walkers
jumble the rear seats.

Mostly bark and limb now, my father
wants once more the ribs and peaks
of the Appalachians, to retrace

remnants of memory:
rocks, trails, and waterfalls,
gravel roads he could not resist.

I sit beside him and remember
the three-leggèd lamb on Askins’ farm,
mummies in museums, waterskiing

at Galivants Ferry, hikes up Kitazuma,
picnics on Mitchell’s and Pisgah’s flanks,
the hatchery at Bee Tree Lake.

We pass excavations
full of debris.
This one journey I can still give

him, arbiter of all good trips,
even though I must wake him to see
the long-familiar spine of rocky heights,

spare and angular as he.


Nancy Dew Taylor’s poetry chapbook, Stepping on Air, was published by Emrys Press in 2008. Her work has appeared in Appalachian Journal, Kalliope, The South Carolina Review, Timber Creek Review, and Tar River Poetry and in several anthologies, including A Millennial Sampler of South Carolina Poetry and Contemporary Appalachia, volume 3 of The Southern Poetry Anthology. She was named honorable mention in the 2008 Rita Dove Poetry Competition in Salem College’s Center for Women Writers’ National Literary Awards and is the recipient of the 2011 Linda Flowers Literary Award from the North Carolina Humanities Council. She lives in Greenville, SC.