Angelina Oberdan currently teaches at Clemson University in South Carolina where she mentors advanced writing classes. Awarded the Joyce Scantleberry Award for Poetry, judged by Cody Walker (2010), she received an M.F.A. in Creative Writing (Poetry) and an M.A. in English from McNeese State University in Lake Charles, Louisiana. Her poems have appeared in journals such as Italian Americana, Louisiana Literature, Mobius, Southern Indiana Review, and Yemassee.
Facing the further bank, Toad Rock is still.
He sits on his haunches, taking no notice
of the bridge downstream where boys jump,
spray cans in hand, marking the rocks.
This afternoon the trees are turning; it’s cloudy,
but the sky is bright enough for squinting.
And a man stretches out his truck window,
as he crosses Lay Bridge, examining the river.
He drives over the bridge twice more,
scrutinizing the beaver-brown water for bass.
No one has told him about the PCBs
that the electric-meter plant dumped
in the river, that collected upstream near the mill,
settled into the muck at the bottom of three dams.
No one has told him, “Don’t eat the bass.”
And he thinks of fillets, fried and served with hushpuppies.
In the blighted mud of the Twelve Mile River,
Toad Rock, ever so unmoving, shudders.
Copyright ©2012 by Angelina Oberdan. All rights, including electronic, reserved by the author. "Toad Rock" was orginally published in Cold Mountain Review, Spring 2012, Vol. 40.No. 2.)