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The Girl from Appalachia

Some things are better off lost,
some people best not found, like the girl I met,
just 19, sitting by a pond in Ohio,
whose hands fit perfectly into mine.

Her brown eyes led down an abyss
and I followed, craving that chaos,
mysterious and raw like a secret.
She showed me a different way to touch.

But when she didn’t get her way
she bolted her room, broke bottles, mirrors
and every other fragile thing. Cops took her
and twice I bailed her out.

She dressed sloppy, didn’t brush her hair,
took showers twice a day.
I brought her home and everyone sensed it.
Something’s wrong with that girl.

One June we drove to the Golden Gate,
slept in a crash pad, got stoned
every night until she stopped showing up.
I figured she was dead or in jail.

Years later when she found me on the web,
I’d forgotten her last name,
just remembered that tumbling in my gut,
her flaming hair, alluring mouth.

Maybe I understood that part
she kept trying to wash away, because
something inside me
wanted to break everything, too.


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