by Karen L. Jones

For Norma, who introduced me to it

The road seems to sigh with the smooth, rise and fall
cadence of hills and curves, and I wake to Allegany.
We pass Quaker in silence, then smile as Redhouse
beckons ahead. Before dark, it's home,
our own plot of grass and stone and dirt, marked off
with the gentle slope of fern, and boulder, and bough.
We kneel, and begin to cross the brushwood sticks.
The scent of burning pine is a reminder of past summers,
of summers to come. We've waited so long for this day.
I breathe in the perfumed musk of the trees, and look past
our marked off ground, our neat circle of dirt, and tent, and table.
Look upward, to the lacy cobweb of trees
and sky, and breathe in the incense of burning brush
and deep wood dark. And a sense of longing fills me up,
and it feels like an ancient, old regret; like a memory
that isn't mine. It leaves me wondering which part of myself
I'm trying to find: Who she is. Where she's been.
And when I glimpse her here, in Allegany,
I want to go with her, down the path
she nimbly follows. I want to drink
from the leather horn she slings from her shoulder.

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