Wet palms 
coax perfumed lather
from their alligatored sides
and I wash my face 
from the bones
of bath bars 
others would discard.

Friends smile.
Grown children assign 
a motive 
to my penchant 
for using things up–
the penuries of my youth–
but they miss the point.

When life 
has worn me thin 
and brittle as this soap,
may someone 
need me still

I break in the hand 
or dissolve 
in a fragrant act 
of comfort 
or delight.

-- Yvonne Postelle
Cumberland River, *Kuttawa, Kentucky

   Dr. Thomas Walker and five other men from Virginia found 
   a gap in the mountains on April 17, 1750.  They discovered 
   and named the river for a Masonic man, William Augustus, 
   Duke of Cumberland and son of King George II.  Ultimately 
   the name of Cumberland was attached to the whole region: 
   river, mountains, gap, plateau, town, county, college 
   and four Masonic Lodges.  Duke of Cumberland slew every 
   Scottish chieftain in the battle of Culloden in 1746, 
   an unsuitable battlefield outside of Inverness, Scotland.   
   *Kuttawa in Shawnee means: Beautiful

Cold spring day 
Confederate grey 
Running fast
Down river
Drove alone
Road I never knew
Past farms 
Fields un-yielding
through Dykesburg 
Road straight 
to you
No wires 
Power towers for miles 
No houses 
Shack abandoned
across your water
I wanted close  
Your wildness 
without falling 
Clouded waters 
Spring thaws
Old farmers warning 
“Best not fall in that river 
You’ll be swept away, 
never to be seen again.” 

I stood close 
Lie down 
Turn my head	
Red clay earth 
Ear to ground 
Hear what  
I see 

  - Published in Marin Poetry Center 2011 Anthology
     “Volume XIV: Mountains & In Between”

-- Donna Mussato