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A pop-up wilderness west of the Piedmont, folded land of sudden impediments scored by creeks and runs, and linked by bird and folk to well-spaced cousins in the north, where brooks gather sunlight from the peaks. I saw them first from 10,000 feet up— feral cats asleep on a furry map, their muscles glinting in the sloping sun, snow on pale underbellies offered briefly to fingers, rough coats dark and uncombed in colonies of recumbent order soft in the winter light. But these silted hollows— cloaked in poplar and paw paw between the restless ridges consigned to faux youth in their half-height— tease and pluck at my dislocation. I puzzle this stronghold of the Green Man, ancient fool untamed by culture, until a switchback deposits me on the Potomac plain like a raft of last year's leaves. Glimpsed through trunks, the silver river drags its world as a coal train on the far bank creeps upstream. Velocities match, vectors cancel. Road, river, and mountain pause beside a house where somebody felt what I feel and said, I could settle here.
Copyright 2016 S.B. Merrow. From Unpacking the China, QuillsEdge Press.
After 40 years as a flute maker, S. B. Merrow recently returned to her first love, poetry writing.