Issue No. 20 | Spring 2019


Old Hickory, Tennessee (1967)

At Andrew Jackson Elementary

a classmate asked me, “Are you a Yankee,

or a Rebel?” I’d moved there from the West 

Coast, not thinking our war was still going.

The black kids all lived in one neighborhood

near the boundary of Jackson’s estate.

Hopewell. From the bus I noticed their mules

and chickens on Liberty Street’s dirt lots.

In the afternoons young men stood smoking

outside the general store. But it meant 

little to me. I didn’t understand 

what I now know. I rode my bike, played ball. 

All the while, the past was rushing toward me

like a thunderstorm you hear from far off.



Joseph Chaney's poems have appeared in many journals, including The Nation, Yankee, Prairie Schooner, Beloit Poetry Journal, Wisconsin Review, The Spoon River Poetry Review, and Crazyhorse. Recent work can be accessed online at Off the Coast, The Ekphrastic Review, Shark Reef, The Cresset, and The Apple Valley Review. Chaney teaches writing and literature at Indiana University South Bend, where he's the publisher of Wolfson Press.