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There is one patch of Route 15, just north
of what was home, where whatever weather is,
there is more of it—cloudburst, blizzard, smear
of sun that finds its way through needle eye
of mountain. You’ve pulled the tangled thread
of road with you this far. Go on. No one
waits, hand up to curtain listening for your
graveled turn. There’s only past throwing
its shadow on the lane that sends you back
toward what is gone. Your eyes will soon adjust.
When did you know it’s not enough
to carry splintered pieces underneath your skin?
Home is the place you must choose again.
Copyright Pauletta Hansel. Originally published in Sheila-Na-Gig Volume 5.2, Winter 2020
Pauletta Hansel’s eight poetry collections include Friend, Coal Town Photograph and Palindrome, winner of the 2017 Weatherford Award for best Appalachian poetry.