My father dreams of West Virginia, his boyhood
on Granddad’s farm, hunting dogs baying &
tomatoes in the garden. Now he’s tucked
between other mountains and a man-
made lake. We dream as not to die
and when my father dreams, it’s not coal
or mines shuttered, not abandoned towns
or JC Penny’s turned into a senior center,
not heroin or oxy. He fished streams. Gutted,
cooked, & ate what he caught. He rolled
though what passed for highways
on a motorcycle or a Triumph TR3
bought with money from News & Sentinel
routes. Listened to the Pirates take the series
on a radio set on the chrome-edged table.
Now rusted. Fiestaware chipped. But Dad,
maybe this is the only place we belong.
A broken place, with its ragged side
of the heart. Today I saw a man with an enormous
suitcase. He dragged it down and out
of town. What treasure might require such effort?
In West Virginia, I bought an old house I fill
with oddities and books. Like my father’s dreams
I live almost heaven imperfect, so close I might have touched
the night as it pulled across the sky, a dark curtain. The sun
eases through the threadbare spots; it slits and frays soon enough.
Renée K. Nicholson