The Appalachians

Long, slow drive around hairpin curves--kudzu

             and ginseng cover roadsides like taciturn mountain

             people protect their culture. We're only trying to save

             them from backwoods existence, but they are leery.

             Outsiders, they call us. I suspect miscegenation,

             Melungeons, tri-racial isolate group, possible inbreeding.

             Children observed today at Redbud School wore soiled

              hand-me-downs, lacked proper hygiene. Girl A wiped

              runny nose on dress; Boy A's trousers, unzipped. Girl B

              no lunch. When asked questions, heads turned to avoid 

              eye contact, common habit of mountain people. Teacher

              Truesdale, pleasant enough, refused to divulge information  

              about students, acted as if we came to steal from them; 

              content to remain ignorant, behind a civilized world.

              Observations to be accurately reported after washing

               hands with anti-bacterial gel and enjoying a stiff drink.

                                                                                                                             Vicki Collins