You and I share the memory of entering Appalachia
like a wet curtain that soaks up sound.
When you’re on the other side you’re only there–
and nowhere else. It isn’t Kentucky, it’s the county
you call to.

In poetry,
we share the carrying of counties like pennies,
each attempting to name a familiar self.
In poetry, we bond over how suffocating,
how beautiful its been.
We bond over the rejection, the cordial porcelain
the way that both vases and toilets hold all of it the

We share the giving up of Food City,
Piggly Wiggly, and Dawahares for
anonymity in cities. The tired pursuit of identity:
some single self. To be strange, or named stranger,
where no one stops you in isles, where no one ever knew
your grandmother’s maiden name.
Together, we suffer such mid-life freedom.

Try to define this paranoid blood,
where rooted madness drives us. 
Some of us hide inside our syllables
stretched over words like blankets because it feels better.
Kentucky lucky is being stuck in the same poem,
all crying and laughing at one line. Asking and begging:
what do you do with a thing when it won’t rewind?
Hillbilly descendants reread
Wendell and hooks
to enter the curtain
again, against our eyes.
We drink around it, the flat top mountains, our coasters,
We hold the taste in our mouths as long as we can.

It’s all you can do to scratch at a thing like this.