They bartered Delaware ginseng for rides
across the channel’s rut of eddied leaves
and flecked the maps with names in survey eyes.
The piedmont’s cakes of chattel fenced the beef
and plowmen winnowed lines between the strands,
where tides visit the river’s stepping shale
and keep the ships of tea from waking lands.
The ferryman’s bride imported a veil
and children sold the rafts and land for church
and homes. The corn and peaches, haze ripened
on hills that slope to streets, were kegged in birch
and mossy nets spooked the leaping sturgeon.
Down bridges and canals they passed around
the best, and left the way to starting towns.
This article originally appeared in The New Criterion, Volume 30 Number 10, on page 32
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