Winter in Appalachia.

I dream of ripping a motorbike through the kudzuued backroads of Crozet, Virginia with little gas and two 5s in my pocket. I dream of finding a litter of wolf puppies with no mama in a cold barn and taking them to a lukewarm bus. Of walking a painted pony in Wyoming. Driving the bus with no brakes... A gun shot sound rips the wild imagination from the underside of my eyelids, breathing the hot hum of life and death over the red morning air. Winter in Appalachia is fried ham stuck to a rusty spatula. The kettle begins to boil on the high side of the wood stove, shaking out the tune of rice rattling in a clear mason jar. Such harsh sounds all cupped in the mad fist of the hollar wind bear the likeness of hair slam music invigorating even the coldest limb. January; the first grains of sand in a slow hour glass. The month signature smells make a

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Katherine Dolan

tell me again how the note in your pocket became a freight train
and tied an earthquake to your feet. 
how it was too early for talking, and everyone sitting like statues, made you forget 
the boxcar so you could fall
asleep in dream garden.
how you imagined each finger as a thumb 
and everything pointed up, and promised to carry the load.
how your lips parted in prayer when you realized,
you were your own Hail Mary.
sweet darlin’,

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Katherine Dolan

It’s raining on the bus. Indian summer waves its headdress across the sky in a powdered white cotton. Water drops differently in the cold—heavy, weighted iron balls clip the yellow lipped gutters along 9 slip-down bus windows. The fire pops inside the black stove like a tongue clicking in the closed mouth of a dreaming giant. The heat rises slowly in the dark and, cupped between two duvet covers, my furry head listens to the music muffled by a thin piece of clear glass. I am so close to it—so close to reality, two quick clicks and I could physically touch it. But why

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Katherine Dolan