Near Rocky Top, the highway falls
down  the mountain through the wedge
the US Army Corps of Engineers drove into
the granite with blasting caps
and coal mines.
I met a man when I stopped there
walking by the river.
Said he made fruit wine.
Said he worked in the mines
for a year, then vowed no more.
His wife died two years past.
and now his daughters looked in on him.
He told me she had cancer
and how the doctors wouldn’t listen
when she was sick,
how she wanted to go home,
and not die in that place
where men in white coats 
looked right through her. 

He showed me her picture
and paused.

I said  she was beautiful.
We walked along the path below Norris Dam,
where the hummingbirds flew back and forth
from flower to flower on the river shore.