We came from gin and bishops
but also coal mines.
My mother travelled the world
all the way from West Virginia to Germany
and a job in the army,
where she met my father,
a handsome soon-to-be ghost
from a valley in Virginia.
Once wed, she made mayonnaise
at her mother-in-law’s elbow.
Her ambitions curdled.
He lawyered. We were happy,
the mountain south a cradle to me.

My father died. My uncle his twin
came to tell us, his overcoat
the same coat my father
would never wear again.


Originally from Virginia, Hilary King now lives in Northern California.Her poems have appeared in Fourth River, Belletrist, PANK, Caesura, Blue Fifth Review, Sky Island Journal, Mom Egg Poetry Review, Vinyl Poetry, Cortland Review and other publications. She is the author of the book of poems, The Maid's Car.