Almyr L. Bump :: Quiet Splendor; Other Clay; A Harsh Reminder ::


I am a native of Dobson, North Carolina, so yes, I am in fact south of somewhere! I am an infantry officer working as a regional response planner for NORTHCOM Homeland Region I.

Quiet Splendor

Landmarks and milestones speak
to us of homes undisturbed.
Removed from upcountry,

leaving gardens and orchards
planted, good friends and past events,
we dread becoming citizens

of nowhere. Attachment to place
precedes revival and virtue;
garden planted and fruit ordered.

Dislocation brings dissonance;
moving disrupts consonance
of time, place, family and friends.

We pray to leave the homestead
a place better for those who stay,
attending tasks if we leave again.

A fertile life and sustaining rows
illuminates a quiet splendor.

Other Clay

The old dead lie beneath a noxious
carpet of brambles and poison
ivy. Tombstones mostly shattered
and names long forgotten.

Graves of recent dead, fresh mounds
of other clay, equally unsung
without a single stone or marker,
red amid beer cans and candy wrappers.

Grass waves, languid in humid air;
forgotten people and wasted lives
discarded on landfills, waiting
for the promise of delivery.

Please don’t forget us.

A Harsh Reminder

Above the fifth
cataract, meeting
rivers whisper.

In the morning,
a sky-blue mountain,
flinging a cool

shadow, looming
over the western
desert with snow

melting, feeding
a broad lake, nestled
at its solid base.

Hordes yet dwelling
on the river’s shores
in shifting tents,

resting among
the redeemed pilgrims,
not permanent.

Fruit of the palm
feeding my body,
prayer my spirit.

I look, passing
through the vestibule
of perception:

broken pieces
of a green bottle,
shining under

a frozen streetlight.