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Larry Thacker

LarryLarry D. Thacker’s poetry is in over one-hundred-and-fifty publications including Spillway, Still: The Journal, Valparaiso Poetry Review, Poetry South, The Southern Poetry Anthology, The American Journal of Poetry, The Lake, Illuminations Literary Magazine, and Appalachian Heritage. His books include three full poetry collections, Drifting in Awe, Grave Robber Confessional, and Feasts of Evasion, two chapbooks, Voice Hunting and Memory Train, as well as the folk history, Mountain Mysteries: The Mystic Traditions of Appalachia. His MFA in poetry and fiction is earned from West Virginia Wesleyan College. Visit his website at:

Self-Portrait at Fifty

A thing harder
to manufacture lately.

I look at mirrors,
glance sun burst glass,
search out my face much less
these last few years.

like when every reflection

deserved reflection.
Was respected at face value.

Let’s call what remains
a mere rumor
of self, partly
believed, partly
called a liar.

I’ve looked to the mountains

like you’ve done. Expectant. Almost breathless.
For sure this one more, last time held answers.
Glassed the ridges with failing eyes,
cardinal, ordinal, cardinal,
traced ground etched by lay lines left
by others, some brambled. Sought
every watchful angle from below, above.
Caught myself shouting, but only inside myself,
back in the middle of my head,
as if testing what sing-sounds might
bring back a satisfactory echo
once let go. Once loosed the hot belly
full of lists and lists of lists. Of names holding
on just far enough up along the hilltops
to be beyond. Far up enough to be never.

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