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common wealth

contemporary poets on pennsylvania

edited by marjorie maddox and jerry wemple

common wealth

a keystone book

A Keystone Book is so designated to distinguish it from the typical scholarly monograph that a university press publishes. It is a book intended to serve the citizens of Pennsylvania by educating them and others, in an entertaining way, about aspects of the history, culture, society, and environment of the state as part of the Middle Atlantic region.

common wealth

contemporary poets on pennsylvania

Edited by Marjorie Maddox and Jerry Wemple

the pennsylvania state university press | university park, pennsylvania

Disclaimer: Some images in the original version of this book are not available for inclusion in the eBook.

Library of Congress Cataloging-in-Publication Data Common wealth : contemporary poets on Pennsylvania / edited by Marjorie Maddox and Jerry Wemple. p. cm. Includes index. ISBN 0-271-02721-5 (alk. paper) 1. American poetryPennsylvania. 2. PennsylvaniaPoetry. I. Maddox, Marjorie, 1959 . II. Wemple, Jerry. PS548.P4C66 2005 811.008032748dc22 2005019087

Copyright 2005 The Pennsylvania State University Photographs Copyright 2005 Paul Ruby All rights reserved Printed in the United States of America Published by The Pennsylvania State University Press, University Park, PA 16802-1003 The Pennsylvania State University Press is a member of the Association of American University Presses. It is the policy of The Pennsylvania State University Press to use acid-free paper. Publications on uncoated stock satisfy the minimum requirements of American National Standard for Information SciencesPermanence of Paper for Printed Library Materials, ANSI Z39.481992. photographs by paul ruby

To Gary, Anna Lee, and Will, who made Pennsylvania home and this anthology possible. mm To Kyle, who is discovering his own Pennsylvania, and to all the poets of the Keystone state. jw


preface xiii i. greetings from the commonwealth! Pennsylvania, Gabriel Welsch 3 The Map, Kathryn Hellerstein 5 Coming East from Cleveland to Philadelphia at Harvest, Jeanne Murray Walker 6 Route 81, David Chin 8 Me n Bruce Springsteen Take My Baby Off to College, Barbara Crooker 9 ii. beginnings: philadelphia, dutch country, and their environs Philly Things, David Livewell 15 Colors, Jeanne Murray Walker 17 Rowers on the Schuylkill, Leonard Kress 18 Listening for Bridge Builders, David Livewell 20 Crazy Mary Rides the El, Michele A. Belluomini 20 Spiritual Exercise, Kensington, Philadelphia, Leonard Kress 22 If You Are Reading This, Lynn Levin 24 Preliminary Sketches: Philadelphia, Elizabeth Alexander 25 Our Lady of the Cabbages, Deborah Burnham 26 10 pm at a Philadelphia Recreation Center, Peter Krok 27 The Star Show, Robin Becker 28 A Poem for a Black Boy, Sonia Sanchez 30 Chester County Winter Day, George Fleck 31 Spiritual Morning, Robin Becker 31 A Hill in Pennsylvania, Nathaniel Smith 32 In the Small World, Sandra Kohler 33

Mennonites, Julia Kasdorf 35 Mennonite Farm Wife, Janet Kauffman 36 Female Ancestor, Ann Hostetler 36 Buggy Ride at Sixteen, Marjorie Maddox 38 Papaya: Lancaster County, Juanita Brunk 39 Back with the Quakers, Betsy Sholl 40 Before the Silver Chord Is Loosed, Helen Mallon 41 In Carpenters Woods, Gerald Stern 42 Halfway, Maxine Kumin 43 Potters Field, Germantown, Robin Hiteshew 45 Wallace Stevens House Prayer, Heather Thomas 46 Shillington, John Updike 47 Route 222: Reading to Kutztown, Heather Thomas 48 The Idea of the Ordinary, Carmine Sarracino 49 iii. circling east: mines, mountains, and mills Ode to Coal, Sherry Fairchok 55 Coalscape, Craig Czury 56 Coal Crackers, James Hoch 57 Burning Mountain, W. S. Merwin 58 Christ Comes to Centralia, Barbara Crooker 59 Centralia (October 31, 1986), Karen Blomain 60 This Is Not My Cousin, Valerie Fox 62 What They Wanted Us to Bring Back, Sherry Fairchok 64 Family Portrait, 1933, Peter Oresick 65 Working the Face, Jay Parini 66 Coal Train, Jay Parini 67 The Miners Wife Leaves Home, Karen Blomain 68 So the Coal Was Gone, Thomas Kielty Blomain 69 Showing a Friend My Town, Harry Humes 70 March 10, 1951, Craig Czury 71 Bones & Ashes, Helen Ruggieri 72 Photograph, Anthony Petrosky 73 The Strippings, Linda Tomol Pennisi 73 Cousin, Will You Take My Hand? Jerry Wemple 74 Susquehanna: The Projects, Ruth Ellen Kocher 77

The Field (an Excerpt), Linda Tomol Pennisi 78 The Jeweler, Peter Oresick 78 Real Faux Pearls, Betsy Sholl 79 Polka Dancing to Eddie Blazonczyk and His Versatones in Coaldale, Pennsylvania, Leonard Kress 81 A Different House, Paul Martin 82 In Cursive, Len Roberts 83 Spring Peepers, April, Wassergass, Len Roberts 85 Easter Sunday, Seisholtzville, Ann E. Michael 86 We Never Leave, Jason Moser 87 Sprawl, Ann E. Michael 89 Hawk Falls, Dan Maguire 90 Climbing the Three Hills in Search of the Best Christmas Tree, Len Roberts 92 Lehighton, David Staudt 94 Gallivanting, Paul Martin 95 Bombogenesis, Karen Blomain 96 The Quarry, Paul Martin 97 J.B. Phones Me at the End of Summer, Asking Where I Find Silence in the Lehigh Valley, Steven Myers 98 The Poconos, Robin Becker 100 Deer, Harry Humes 102 iv. hills and ridges: the susquehanna valley and central pennsylvania Naming Heraclitus, Sandra Kohler 107 November Textures, Karl Patten 108 Cousins, Charles J. Rice 109 The Agnes Mark, Gary Fincke 111 Renovo, Sandra Kohler 112 Freight, Julia Kasdorf 113 The Little League World Series: First Play, Marjorie Maddox 115 Going Back, Gregory Djanikan 115 Nocturne: Roller Mills Flea Market, Nicole Cooley 117 Cleareld County Fair, Ginny MacKenzie 118 The Bloomsburg Fair, JoAnne Growney 119


Racetrack Downriver, David Staudt 121 Fishing the Little J. Beneath the Methodist Church, Harry Humes 122 The Company We Keep, Ron Mohring 123 Worlds End, Barbara Crooker 125 Winter Walks, Perry County, Susan Weaver 126 It Isnt Raining, Cynthia Hogue 126 Pleasure Gap, Bruce Bond 127 Aunt Lena Committed to Bellefonte State Hospital, Ginny MacKenzie 129 Running through Danville State Hospital, Michael Hardin 130 Laid Off in July, Matthew Perakovich 131 Awl Street, Jerry Wemple 132 Harrisburg Echoes (Excerpts), Robert Small 133 Nights Like This, Julia Kasdorf 134 Three Mile Island Siren, Jack Veasey 135 Dream City, Barbara DeCesare 136 Twelve Facts about the Immigrants: A Prose Poem, Carmine Sarracino 138 Acoustic Shadows, Bruce Bond 139 Gettysburg, Samuel Hazo 140 The Battleeld Museum Guide Speaks, Carmine Sarracino 141 v. southwestern pennsylvania: the three rivers region and the laurel highlands Lines Written in a Pittsburgh Skyscraper, Diane Ackerman 147 Bells, Deirdre OConnor 148 Listening to Jimmy Garrison (Pittsburgh, Pa.), Sonia Sanchez 149 The Dancing, Gerald Stern 150 Integration (Kennywood Park, June 1963), Daniel J. Wideman 151 My Father Likes Pittsburgh, Jeffrey Oaks 152 Pittsburgh Poem, Jan Beatty 155 Brick, Kristin Kovacic 156 My Grandfathers Cronies, Deirdre OConnor 157 Steelers! Steelers! Steelers!, Ann Hayes 158 Class A, Salem, the Rookie League, Gary Fincke 160

Slaving, Daniel J. Wideman 161 Closed Mill, Maggie Anderson 163 One of Many Bars in Ford City, Pennsylvania, Peter Oresick 165 Spill, Judith Vollmer 166 Listening to Birds after a Mild Winter, Judith Vollmer 166 Audubons Nature Preserve, Fox Chapel, Sharon F. McDermott 167 Desire, Lynn Emanuel 168 Panther Hollow Bridge, Pittsburgh, Jim Daniels 169 Mysteries of Pittsburgh, Toi Derricotte 171 In Her Mind, Shes Already Quit, Leslie Anne Mcilroy 172 Miracle Mile, Ed Ochester 173 Buddy Picture, Charles Clifton 175 Leaving Pittsburgh, Kristin Kovacic 176 Gray, Maggie Anderson 177 Imagining the Johnstown Flood, Jerry Wemple 178 Flash Flood, W. D. Snodgrass 179 Altoona, E. A. Miller 181 Memorial Day, Elderton, Pennsylvania, Ed Ochester 182 Home Town, W. D. Snodgrass 183 Apollo Is a Pink Town, JoAnne Growney 185 Pennsylvania September: The Witnesses, Marjorie Maddox 186 Spring: Fayette County, PA, Luise van Keuren 189 This Hill Will Get You There, Patricia Jabbeh Wesley 190 Turning into a Pond, Gerald Stern 191 vi. north by northwest: the alleghenies and erie Second Coming in Northern Pennsylvania, Steven Huff 197 When I Looked Next, Michael Teig 198 After Tithonus and Aurora, Thoughts on a Life of Work, David Swerdlow 199 Bullet Shell Heart, Kirk Nesset 202 Jacklighting, Antonio Vallone 203 White Tent in the Alleghenies, David Staudt 204 Mountain Night, Berwyn Moore 206 Swimming in Lake Erie: Intermediate Beginners, Deborah Burnham 207

The Resurrection of Lake Erie, Gerald Costanzo 207 Confession Off the Lake, George Looney 208 Yet, John Repp 209 Bus Stop at West 12th Street, Sean Thomas Dougherty 211 In the Old Neighborhood It Begins in the Urgency of Whoever Is Nameless It Pulls the Night Hard in the Hands, Sean Thomas Dougherty 212 Driving in Someone Elses Light, Mark S. Borczon 213 In a Diner in Franklin, Pennsylvania, George Looney 215 Meditation in Oil City, PA, Philip Terman 217 The Auctioneer, Philip Terman 218 Tractor Pull, Brad Comann 221 If We Were as Brilliant as Groundhogs, Philip Terman 222 On Gobblers Knob, Shirley S. Stevens 224 The History of Summer, Sharon F. McDermott 224 acknowledgments 227 the poets 234 index 256



Pennsylvanians have a right to be proud. This state has birthed or inspired powerful wordsmiths: poets, novelists, essayists, dramatists, biographers, childrens authors, short story writers. Mention Shillington, and someone will echo John Updike; utter Pottsville, Reading, and Chaneysville, and hear the names John OHara, Wallace Stevens, and David Bradley; Pittsburgh, and listen for a long chorus that includes Annie Dillard, August Wilson, Gladys Schmitt, Gerald Stern, Robinson Jeffers, Diane Ackerman, and Samuel Hazo. What Philadelphian will not claim as literary neighbors William Penn, Benjamin Franklin, Louisa May Alcott, Edgar Allan Poe, Pearl Buck, and Sonia Sanchez? As Rudyard Kipling argued nearly a century ago in his poem Philadelphia, The things that truly last when men and times have passed, / They are all in Pennsylvania this morning! Whether arriving in or launching from Pennsylvania, this states authors nd what matters: heritage, pride, work, inventiveness, struggle, faith, beauty, hope. From the inner cities to the rolling hills and forested mountains, Pennsylvania speaks through its land and its peoples. Past and present converge. Family narratives intertwine tales of agriculture and industry. Everywhere is the accent of ancestry. Both detailed and panoramic, the view spans generations. Marianne Moore gives us the moon over the Susquehanna; Stephen Vincent Bent, the body of John Brown; Francis Bret Harte, the battle of Gettysburg; W. D. Snodgrass, the claustrophobia and allure of home towns; Janet Kauffman, the farm life of Mennonite communities; Harry Humes, the dust of coal towns; Lee Gutkind, the folklore of Penns Woods; John Edgar Wideman, the streets of Homewood. What brings together better such distinct authors as Gertrude Stein, W. S. Merwin, Malcolm Cowley, Willa Cather, Chaim Potok, Maxine Kumin, and John Barth? What connects

more closely Philip Roth, Marguerite diAngeli, Ezra Pound, Conrad Richter, James Michener, H.D., and Thomas Paine? All share by birthright or exploration the bond of landscape and literature Pennsylvania owing through the pen. In part, this anthology stems from Our Own: Pennsylvania Authors, a course taught at Lock Haven University, and from its companion, The Pennsylvania Authors Reading Series, as well as from focused studies of Pennsylvania writers in several courses at Bloomsburg University. Through these forums, students study and discuss their diverse literary forbearers. Who writes about us? they want to know. Who writes about our home towns? While this question could be answered from the larger canon, the more life-affecting response for these young adults is Len Roberts, Sherry Fairchok, Gary Fincke, Betsy Sholl, Jim Daniels, Karen Blomain, Philip Terman. . . . Pennsylvania overows with those who continue the story and, as in the case of the writers represented in this anthology, through the medium of poetry. Most of the authors with whom we spoke gave us the gift of more poets. After much reading, we decided to focus on contemporary narratives of place, written by those still living in the Keystone, as well as by those now residing elsewhere but strongly connected to Pennsylvania through memory and experience. To ensure a wider expression of voices, we limited our selection to three or fewer by each author. At the same time, we wanted a collection that celebrated the geographical diversity of the state, as well as one that spoke to and for the citizens of Pennsylvania. Foremost, then, this collection is about place. Specically, it is about the places in Pennsylvania that we hold sacred. It is about the places we revere: the places that have been with many of us since childhood in every journey near and far, and those places that many of us encounter every day, but still, from time to time, can gaze upon with wonder. For many of us, the term sacred place summons images of an ancient city in the Middle East, the Ganges in India, perhaps a temple somewhere in Southeast Asia. For the poets in this anthology, Pennsylvania offers numerous places to revere. For Charles J. Rice, that holy place of childhood was the conuence of the west and north branches of the Susquehanna, the lure of the rivers secrets concealed in murky depths. Though hes traveled around the world, David Staudt kept images of a

Carbon County boyhood with him, of a place where peewee football lights forge / a bracelet of bright stones. For Philly native Robin Becker, the idea of sacred space is clear, when in the midst of describing a trip to Fels Planetarium, she compares the star shows narrator to my rabbi appearing suddenly in the dome / to discuss Moses. But it is not only the places of our youth that become meaningful to us. In Julia Kasdorfs Nights Like This, an adult narrator walks the darkened neighborhoods of Camp Hill, wondering about the symmetry of the moon, pale blue TV glow / of family rooms and a trucker crooning the old tune Blue Moon. Likewise, an adult perspective gives us Philip Termans The Auctioneer, a poem that senses we must all earn our place in this world. In Second Coming in Northern Pennsylvania, Steven Huff gives us a wonderful image of driving back into woods, deep into the mountains to a small town, wondering what the reception would be for Jesus, and the narrator, years gone, who feels like an interloper among kin. Still, as the title of Jason Mosers poem states: We Never Leave. Perhaps it is that there is something about Pennsylvania that never leaves us. Throughout our lives, we keep traveling this Commonwealths highways and country roads, surprised by its many and often circuitous routes leading us toward home. Native Pennsylvanians, students, factory workers, coal miners, teachers, writers, fellow travelers passing through, we welcome you. We invite you to read more by authors who write about where you live, then journey around the state via the other poems collected here. Experience again the festivals, the natural and man-made disasters, the farm lands, the religious communities, the mountains, the railroads, the forests, the mines, the inner cities, and the small towns of the Keystone. With good wishes, we give you this map and send you on your way, trusting that from these poems you learn something about the lasting inuence of the Commonwealth, and something about the power of poetry that allows us to share our similar and dissimilar experiences, yet somehow connect us through the energy of our sacred places. Join this gathering of contemporary voices and journey with us. Come, celebrate our Common Wealth.

marjorie maddox, williamsport jerry wemple, bloomsburg


we invite you to begin by logging onto the center for the books literary map of pennsylvania at http://www.pabook.libraries.psu.edu/LitMap/pamap.html, a helpful companion to this anthology.























ADAMS 1800

YORK 1749

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i. greetings from the commonwealth!

gabriel welsch
After Bishop

The state with the prettiest name and the ear of an ancient ridge its runnel of stone cluttered with the wet trees that hold taut the devastating brown in winter, the state with air cluttered by the noise of more miles of road than any other state, its cities rareed by steel and freedom the state of deer hungry and bafed, twisted on its roads, tufted on its fenders, swinging husks on the porches of tight homes crowded on the Susquehanna, the Juniata, the Allegheny the state where roads of chicory rattle through the weight of August out of the mountains and onto the slow limestone slab that runs to the Chesapeake the state hollowed out in its wood-dense middle, rusted in a line from Scranton to Monroeville, slag heaps stand sentry over ridges pillaged bald the state on re at its core where stories slide into the maw of hell each time another house groans its way into the earth the state abutting the Great Lakes which feels their force with each gush of winter that rakes over the ridges the state where mud sings, its telepathy gritty and familiar, its voice a particular shade of its character, given roundness

with sweet lime the state of forests that beckon with trails of shadow and distance and great disappearance, tied to its deliberate stretch toward winter, when this state is all smoke and the gray reaches of trees, all darkness and re, all ash and water and the salt-worn roads that lead all thoughts to home the state where to talk of soup is to talk of God and Sunday bundling and bazaars through the countryside and gravestones laid over with ags and wax begonias the state with pierogie sales and funnel cakes and cheese steaks and soft pretzels and the ruddy faces of corpulent railroaders the state that is everywhere and here, made distinct by its bunched mountains and hidden towns, how it lays demolished under leaves, resting on ground that grows hollow and more hollow year after year, burning and sinking the state with the prettiest name, a name that is both lie and promise, adjective and mystery, history and fable, one mans woods. We hear robins in the laurel, semis jake-braking into town, the sudden snap of deer hooves on tomato stakes. And always, highways building and seething with our weight, pushing on limestone, building and building on this softening ground.

The Map
kathryn hellerstein A map across my legs, I locate us between the creases, tracing my nger across the double red line of the interstate freeway we race along. The white circle is the exit we just passed; the small black diamond, the one we are approaching in the middle of the day. This is where we are, I say to you, my nger on the line, but I am here, in my leather seat, and you are there, hands too lightly on the steering wheel, ngers just touching the bottom. It scares me to hurtle through space according to your casual caress of our direction. On the map, I try to x our state of being in what I see from afar, like that hawk, a dark stroke against the blue, circling above the woods reddening leaves and one golden tree stirring within.

Coming East from Cleveland to Philadelphia at Harvest

jeanne murray walker
For Deb Burnham and David Staebler

i. sunrise

In early morning east of Cleveland, blue fog rises from hedgerows and pasture grass ticks beneath the sun. Cows stare with astonished eyes at the line where trees stave the horizon. Like points of scarves, their ears stand out. Their skin drapes over great wooden bones. Their splendid cuds move from stomach to stomach. Their milk leaks onto the small white owers of strawberries.
ii. alleghenies

Beyond the trees, the Alleghenies rise from land sifted and sorted by the wind for ve million years, the great shelves of granite wandering through the continent, sailing their troubled prows up through fathoms of loam, heaving their load, all scars and calluses, all whisker and hurrah. A bridge threads the eye of the highest pass. Tall clouds bear water in their hands to streams which jangle their bells against rocks as they swell and rush down grooves of land toward the Mississippi. A violet rock shears loose, roars and crashes to the valley. Three horses brace their ankles to stare while a hawk spirals down with open talons. The grass squeals. Plunging their necks into the long grass, the horses feed again. They browse in their own shadows. They walk into the mountains, reading the hieroglyphs of grass.
iii. crops

Fat bales stud the broken elds. In their secret places on the bough, apples swell.

The complicated seeds within get ready for their work. Bees ll cells with heavy amber. The corn works toward plenty, its kernels fattening, its hair tasseling above cracked soil and singeing in the sun. The leaves of the wild pumpkin sprawl, broad as open palms. Everything is nished: pumpkins, pinecones, pods, nuts, acorns, turnips, potatoes, carrots, beets, parsnips, the roots have taken their days to gather starch. Rings have slipped down the ngers of the purple vetch. And the dry grass, silver-green, black-green, yellow-green, waits for the nal plow to turn it back to soil. The redwing blackbird ickers, a heart beating in the wheat.
iv. water

In the lake, silent sh collect, their esh packing close as petals of a peony. A frog blinks on a salmon-colored stone, algae multiplying between his toes.
v. the book of animals

A girl in a Pennsylvania haymow reads the book of animals out loud. Her limbs are long, her hair a bowl cut of sun. This is what she sings to herself: Praise the toad who pulls his bottom eyelid up. Praise the thrush who ties his song like a bow in the air. Praise the slug who carries rocks on his back. Praise the mice who spread in the corneld like laughter. Praise the vulture who dips his beak into the deer. Praise the skunk whose nose surpasses all others. Praise the jackal whose blood buzzes behind his eyes.

Praise the perch whose bones are clean as pearl. Praise the squirrel who stuffs his cheeks and prays with his paws. Praise the possum who collects heat from the sun like a brown stone. Praise the duck who pulls up her feet and rises into air. Praise the fox who grins in the forest. Praise the chicken whose head goes in and out like a piston. Praise the snake who glitters in the black heart of the mountains. Praise the hedgehog who listens with his inner ear. Praise the humpbacked pig who roots in gold manure.
vi. sunset

While rivers engorge and ow toward the Atlantic, while lovers nuzzle and mate in hooded nooks, while freckled eggs wait in coops beneath yellow hay, while wolfpups hone their teeth on the rabbits thigh, while sheep trot home in a line beneath their bags of wool, while seeds crowd and split their husks, while young foxes wander from their nests, while gray stones grow heavy with lichen, the sun hauls the gold and green land behind it and shadows drag toward autumn, the earth tilts once more on its axle and each thing leans toward its own redemption.

Route 81
david chin A sunlit somewhere in Pennsylvania and my own truant haze on boarding the bus. Eyeliner, blush, blonde hair, peach lips her meditative glance glides over the landscape. Branches budding pale green, white slivers of birch, red on the maples, a blue road sign shoots by.

I dont understand why I nd her so beautiful; Ive always admired the naked human face. Is it because I forgot to turn away as she kissed her boyfriend in Baltimore four hours ago? He walked the bus out of the station. She smiled, and pressed three ngers against the glass. He nodded sadly. Ive been gone a weekthe Endocrine Society. Twenty-one lectures on hormones and methods to detect their presence. How explain this to my three-year-old, who rises nightly from her lonely sleep, walks down a dark hall to fall asleep again between her mother and myself? I miss Lorna and Rachel as I miss my own true self, and the sadness under that young womans smile is and is not my own skid marks and black scraps of blown tire, Food Gas Lodging, Industrial Sites Available Here, ancient open pit coal mines lled in and reforested the road home lengthens as it trails inward.

Me n Bruce Springsteen Take My Baby Off to College

barbara crooker
The length of time to drive from Allentown to Pittsburgh is the same length of time it takes to play the entire Bruce Springsteen Live tapes, with a little Tunnel of Love mixed in.

We hit the turnpike early, O Thunder Road, every inch of the car packed: sweatshirts, prom gowns, books, teddy bears, such heavy baggage. Shes both coming and going, this shy violet of a child, the teenager too hostile to be in the same room, breathe the same air.

Now she dozes beside me as the car spools up the miles, and I slip in a favorite tape, turn up the volume. Her skin, edible, a downy peach, her long hair unwinding. My foot taps the accelerator with the beat; the Big Man, Clarence Clemons, pours his soul out his sax, yearning, throbbing, as the turnpike pulls us west, bisecting Pennsylvania, tunneling through the mountains: Blue, Allegheny, Kittatinny, Tuscarora, this big-muscled, broad-backed hunk of a state. We drive deeper into the heart of anthracite, the wind blows through the dark night of her hair. A harmonica wails and whines, brings me back to my tie-dyed college years; sex looms like a Ferris wheel, carnival lights in the water, but weve reached our exit, here she is, its independence day, ready or not, Pittsburgh, city of smoke and grit, polished chrome and glass, soot-streaked buildings, pocket handkerchief neighborhoods, abandoned steelworks, the Monongahela River. I deliver her again, heavier this time. We set up the room, she turns cocky and sulky, breaks into sobs when I leave. On the return trip, I play the same tapes over and over. Vultures oat in the mountain thermals, a black convoy, lacy akes of char. The miles roll by, Im driven by the beat, everybodys got a hungry heart, nearly there: Lenhartsville, Krumsville, Kutztown, green rolling hills dotted with cows, Pittsburghs iron and steel lling the horizon in the rearview mirror.


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ii. beginnings: philadelphia, dutch country, and their environs

Philly Things
david livewell
Relics of the thing are always stronger than the thing itself. Palimpsest and pentimento, for instance, saints bones Or saints blood, Transcendent architecture of what was possible, say, once upon a time.
Relics , charles wright

These are the amber lakes, the tar-pit pools, Primordial seethe, marmoreal and jelled. These are the backlit alleys, courtyards, docks, The numbered telephone poles and re plugs. These, as my Grandpop joked, are dirty streets, The Turner, Front, and Mascher, Cherry streets He wandered as a journeyman for tin knockers. At points the veins of trolley tracks have surfaced, Burst through the asphalt skin of progress. Here A Liberty dime, a carved initial, bolts, There a plate by paver William Krauss, A grate, a marble wedged behind a doorstep, A re insurance plaque, the iron stars Capping the ends of beams, a fretted boot scrape, A palm print, soda caps near Inlet No. 4, A attened Schmidts can. Cobbles take the strain And stretch between the culverts as they have For centuries. When potholes gape, they ash A trace of vanished hooves, or hobnail soles Of stevedores, some brewers pungent yeast, The chalk of marble rings and hopscotch grids, Or, bleeding through the brick-fronts Flemish bond, Five cents a cut and shave at Barber Dans. A corner row house holds the chiseled name Of a street never known to passersby. The Germans turned Vienna Street to Belgrade.


Old Sage Street bowed to Thomas Jefferson. A railroad weed has grown through vacant walls And through a cyclone fence. We learn that things That strangle often lengthen city life. My brother found a skeleton by Hetzels Field, but the city said that graveyard moved And those old bones mistakenly remained. What else mistakenly has beckoned eyes To dig? Grafti, gougings, fossil codes? The granite curbs still border much of this, Their 4-foot necks submerged, immovable To any tire or crowbar force. The names Have changed as facts about the distant past Will do. So many streets were trees that Penn Found in his Quaker Woods. Old councils chopped The proud and tting trees, made way for South And Thompson, Race, and Bainbridge. There were reasons: Directives, honorary gifts, a man Who made a difference. Tributaries run Through river wards and north beneath the El. My mothers childhood playground stood in the shadow Of the rst shot tower in America. The cave of hermit Kelpius remains In shade beside the Wissahickons weave. A lled-in tunnel hid beneath a tomb In St. Mikes graveyard, carried scores of Irish Catholics to sewers, stormed by Know-Nothings Off Howard Street. The branded manholes lead To conduits. Forgotten subway stops And trolley depots droop with dust and house Communities of homeless men. Ignore, Like souvenirs we move from house to house, Their hold on youthe pressed, the petried, The residue and artifacts, the dead, The ductwork jottings Grandpop pressed and hid Behind the esh of Center City towers

Like a drunk friar sans scriptorium. If people think too much about their strides, They tripstumbling like the cautious, the wise, the old.

jeanne murray walker This Sunday Philadelphia cannot get enough of itself. All its colors are ying on the Parkway. We know the ags by heart. They celebrate our motherlands. We do not need to squint into the sun this morning or to listen while they snap our names. We come to attention a dozen times a day, startled by the thought of our separate colors. Beneath the ags you and I are taking a walk to the boathouse on the river. A boy in a green shirt glides by on a bicycle, its spokes scribbling crookedly on the sunshine. A child toddles too near the margin where red owers go over the edge. When we get to the river all the silver boats are out sculling through the water as if it were no work. But it must be work for the hands. and it is work for the eyes

to make a bicycle, red owers, boats and a river out of so many luminous specks, because there is nothing this city cannot pretend with colors under such a wide open sky.

Rowers on the Schuylkill

leonard kress Let us be early medieval or late Renaissance, spike-featured Norman Christ or bone-faced Dreresque peasant, skeleton staining the esh. Let us descend the granite steps and gather at the rivers edge for today is an Eakins day on the Schuylkill: boat races, festive crowds, spontaneous celebration. See the strong young men lift their sculls from the racks and carry them overhead like slender varnished beetles to the murky and opaque waterway. See the girls sleek and oiled cheer them on, the losers as well as the winners. See the geese that summer and winter here spring up over the island. See them sport with one another in raucous feathery gaggles and announce to the daily horde the absence of human frailty. For all seems well under the cutting sun: Joan of Arc is heroically bronzed though even she cannot halt trafc along the drive

and Mad Anthony Wayne rears on his horse with the famed golden testicles. How miraculous we seem to ourselves on this fair mountain as cyclists weave round us, in and out of joggers and skaters and strawberry mansions. There is more: deep in the earth an orchestra plays something lush, romantic, called back and tempered by the limping Hungarian. And there on the bank I see an old black man shing for catsh, stepped from a genre painting. But remember, we have come to watch the boat races the crews in their sculls on the Schuylkill, 2-man, 4-man, 8-man and coxswain, barking his rubbery lips, stretched over a frighteningly oracular beak: Stroke! Stroke! Stroke! And the coach puttering around effortlessly in his motor boat, looping lazy gure-eights about them as they rain sweat, snap ligaments, and groan. But this is only practice, the race is soon to run. Only then will these young oarsmen show an old and tired Charon the ropes how to run his ferry faster on this one of many rivers, stroke by stroke by stroke.


Listening for Bridge Builders

david livewell
On the 75th anniversary of the Benjamin Franklin Bridge

They drowned in anchorage walls and came to rest Below the cables where their footing slipped. You cant imagine how their bodies ipped Into the sand-hog molds, how concrete pressed Against their frantic limbs, how motions froze, How prayers exhausted lungs of nal breath. Now engineers can plumb the depths of death. A hammer echoes back each workers pose, Surfacing sounds like those that haunt a drum, Like cofferdams that raised the immigrants Who worked the riverbed. Their recompense For what they made is what they have become: Works in the stone you cannot exhume. So listen as you cross: this is their tomb.

Crazy Mary Rides the El

michele a. belluomini gently, like a secret sunrise in the depths of the city a melody unfurls along the platform at 15th street curls through the gray, rain-slicked morning spiraling slowly upward


open-throated tones climb steadily halt bend in upon themselves fall trembling weave around startled rush-hour commuters resolve rise again soaring heads bent over papers, muted thoughts look up, bewildered a small woman bundled in a dark coat her eyes barricaded behind thick lenses walks along the platform is the music her hand opens, ngers extend she coaxes note after rippling note to bend sway to her imaginations ramblings hand curves music curves around the roar of trains rush into the station singing, she enters the car as the train hurtles through darkness an early morning cantata joyously oats and curls above the clash of metal wheels on metal rails at 30th street she steps off into the crush of bodies disappears

the cars passengers return to their papers look out windows into their own stunned reections

breathe once again some of us just stare at the closing doors still captured by the unspeakable beauty this apparition

Spiritual Exercise, Kensington, Philadelphia

leonard kress
After Saint Ignatius

Try this next time. Walking home from the elevated train pay close attention, as you always do to sights along the way. Like the abandoned lace mill, its red bricks oating mortarless on shaky foundations, the whole structure crumbling. Like the Gypsy Church, silent now no young brides in parade, no men pufng away on the stoop, no queen taking possession of the neighborhood after a slow and regal descent from the bus. Hearif you can the tambourine snap and sizzle. Let all chords be augmented. Match your step to its summons. Or like the produce depot. Loiter by crates of Jersey tomatoes bursting through their scars, the last of them this year. Cradled corn, unshucked. Cannonball stacks of honeydew. This one though is somewhat different. It has


three stages: First, scatter their seed so that enough roots in sidewalk cracks enough to make of this neighborhood a verdant garden. That done place your self irrevocably outside as if some corner tough or bouncer were hanging out like the Archangel Michael barring the way back in. Then make that same fruit rot. Choke on the stench of fermenting nectarines wafting through the alleyways. Lured bees and yellow jackets, their sting. Lessons like these are easily learned so its time. As you hoist yourself up to the El platform, up the ante, board the train. Avoid the chatty word processor, the drowsy teller, the dgety account exec. If one is available take a seat. A large youth occupies no more than half of it. His hair is trimmed so close his scalp shines through. Rock music seethes in his ears, a garish tie lassoes his neck. Bookless on his way to school, he will not budge, not even when the Little Flower girls embark, their stiff hair, icon nimbuses gilded by the morning sun. On his one slab-like hand, the only limb exposed, not the wound: a football spike, almost fresh, encrusted. Its really there, bright as lip-gloss, round as a token. The trick to this exercise is seeing that its not an exercise. At all.

If You Are Reading This

lynn levin GIRL WITH DOG IN RAIN! Sweetheart, where are you now? Saw you at 16th and Walnut with your chocolate lab under an awning. It was raining parking lights and car horns. I was the guy doubleparked delivering a tray of bagels to a corporate meeting. Nice stuff, 5 avors, cream cheese with chives, butter daisies. Our eyes met, do you remember? I cant get you out of my mind. [Box 347] OLD LADY AT QUIK MART. When I weighed your peppers, you said I had my thumb on the scale, then you called over the manager who yelled at me and docked my pay. You: Old bag in tan overcoat, mufer, purple pocketbook, evil eye. Me: Goatee, geek glasses, facial hardware. Please give me the opportunity to stab you. [Box 1601] CHAD, LET ME EXPLAIN. That guy you saw me with on the R7 local on Columbus Day meant nothing to me. Hes just a commuter. Your silent treatment is unbearable. Im beggin you baby, come back! [Box 776] PENN CENTER ELEVATORS FROM 16 TO 30TH FLOOR. I want to push your magic buttons. I want to draw Mona Lisas on your beautiful skin. You: Backless red dress, black heels. Me: Bald guy, 35. We rode up together, you got off at 19. I was too shy to talk to you. Now full of regrets. How about sushi or tantric sex? [Box 1446] GUY ON R7 LOCAL OCT. 10, EVENING COMMUTE. You sat next to me and suddenly it was Valentines Day. You liked my Offspring button. I told you about med tech school. You let me take your pulse. It was almost like holding hands. You: Hilger sweatshirt, laptop, got off at Somerton. Me: Hip chick, red hair, capri jeans. Lets pick up where we left off. [Box 777]


YO! YOU THERE ON DEERPATH DR. Im the telemarketer you dissed. Wasnt selling you anything, SOB, just giving you a free estimate on kitchen cabinets. I know your number and where you live. Call now to apologize. [Box 961] OFFICEMAX, FEASTERVILLE, YEAR AND A HALF AGO. You: long black trench coat with three-piece suit. Me: Asian girl with black jacket, wet curly hair, tight black pants, sunglasses on my head. You stared at me a long time waiting at checkout. We looked at each other as you walked out. Will renew until I nd you. [Box 1674]

Preliminary Sketches: Philadelphia

elizabeth alexander
I saw a friend from growing up whos been living In L.A. for about 20 years, and I heard him Say, Im from L.A., and I said, No, man, You from Philly. We dont give nobody up.
Khan Jamal, jazz vibraphonist

Fish-man comes with trout and fresh crabs: Live! They live crabs! They live crabs! Bars called Watusi. Pony tail. A dark green suit, a banded hat. The gentleman buys pigs feet and papaya juice. He looks like church. Another man, down Spruce Street, says, Yeah, Californias beautiful,

but I aint got no people there, so I came back. I raised a racehorse. Trainer says hes mean, but I say naw, naw. That horse just alive. Which way to walk down these tree streets and nd home cooking, boundless love. Double-dutching on front porches, men in sleeveless undershirts. Im listening for the Philly sounds Brother brother brotherly love.

Our Lady of the Cabbages

deborah burnham In South Philly, the blocks have garden plots between schoolyards and trolley tracks, planted with larkspur, the bold red spikes of cockscomb and blue-robed statues of the Virgin who spreads her tender grace on lettuce, cabbages, the green lace veils of spent asparagus. The gardeners labor until dark, battling slugs, drought and hail, needing Marys help against thieves who last week plucked every plum tomato, vandals who rolled new cabbages like tiny bowling balls across Fifth Street. After school, St. Maria Goretti girls, skirts hemmed thigh-high, gather near the garden, checking out the Neumann boys chucking gravel at the trolley. Theyve memorized Marias story: how the farmhand tried seducing her,

how she said No, or was too bewildered to submit or ght, how he stabbed her. She was twelve. These girls, more than twice the age of reason, are tough at basketball Gorillas people call themknees and bruising elbows pushing, thrusting, faking, no help from Mary needed in their court. The best thing She can do for them is whisper stay tough, love yourself, protect your sisters when theyre hanging at the garden, pinching tassels from the corn that no ones stolen yet, its bright silk browning in the middle like their bleached hair.

10 pm at a Philadelphia Recreation Center

peter krok Twilight combs the corners of roofs with black distinctions; the ground is dyed with silhouettes and shadows. Somewhere a stranger is being pursued by speeding sirens. Youths huddle on park benches with their bottle. No father questions their return and breath. A drunk leans on a womans waist by the aluminum stands. Night shift workers are closing their doors. Their wives are readying to turn the spigot for the bath. The neighborhood huddles inside living room lights. The boxer runs his daily rounds around the center.

Basketballs bounce off echoing with shadows. Swings stick out disturbed with silence. No eager arms jostle the chilled bars. Night comes on. Hours crawl like cats under fenders. The playground shuts its eyes.

The Star Show

robin becker Though were at on our backs at midnight under the enormous sky, I know Im really in the Fels Planetarium in Philadelphia, where Ive come with the other third-graders for the Star Show. Tonight the trailing blazes of white explode across the darkness like recrackers and my companions ooooh and point and say over there, though the words are too late to be of use and hang in the air much longer than light. What I remember about the Star Show is the commentators calm voice, the miracle spreading overhead as he wooed us in plain English, as if he didnt need special gear to show us the skys mysteries. He needed only the reclining seats, the articial ceiling shuddering close with its countless stars,

our willingness to leave the known earth, our parents, teachers, friends, ourselves for this uncertain meeting in the dark. He urged us to let our eyes adjust for the journey, he asked us to relax as the room began to spin and he whispered in his knowledgeable voice about Jupiter. Like my rabbi appearing suddenly in the dome to discuss Moses, he explained with sorrow that brilliant Galileo had to retract his scientic conclusions before the Inquisition. This made us sad, for we already knew that Galileo was right, that four moons revolved around Jupiter as the earth revolved around the sun. And then, as though someone were shaking out a bedspread, someone shook the sky and all the stars shifted, it was winter, night of the lean wolf. His voice grew cold and we buttoned our sweaters because the temperature was falling, and we wanted to follow him wherever he was going, which was December. Across the mountain passes we hunted bear; with the Hopis, we cured buffalo hides and predicted the hour of sunrise. Who didnt want to linger on that winter mesa with the spotted ponies, so close to the stars? There wasnt time. He was galloping toward summer while I sat weeping for what Id lost: a glimpse of the sadness to come, the astronomers sure purpose. He guided the constellations from early spring to June and then the sun

rose higher than we thought possible and the longest day endured; he brought us into a meadow drenched with light, but it was night, we knew it, for now we could name every star. How could he leave us here, now that we had become his, now that he had asked us to learn his heaven? As the chairs began to tilt he threw the stars across the sky, ung meteors carelessly and laughed a grown-up laugh. He punctured the darkness with white bullets and the kids began to shout. The seats fell forward and the sun rose in the auditorium, warming the air. I sat bereft before the retreating stars. Row by row we stood and blinked into that autumn afternoon, as the ordinary jeers and curses lled our mouths.

A Poem for a Black Boy

sonia sanchez
(For andrew waiting for a bus on a mt. airy corner)

What if they close their windows as you walk near their cars? What if they lock their doors and stare saliva stares? On this cold December morning waking up from stars you are the wind choreographing our esh you are the sacred water baptizing our tongues.

Chester County Winter Day

george fleck Wire-fenced elds tatted with snow lace. Grass, blanched and mired in cocoa-colored mud. Bogged furrows hold stubbled cornstalks where only crows stalk ice plates rime the creek crackling their crystalline protest to the sluggish current. Gray clouds twist and knot the sky and the day hangs desolate, hollowed by the bay of a far-off hound.

Spiritual Morning
robin becker I am as virtuous as a rabbinical student after my morning run. God in the body awake, God of the May apple and wild ginger. Even the little stiff hands of the whistle pig reach toward me in deaths perfection. Once, in Katmandu at dawn, I watched a monk in a saffron robe brush his teeth on the roof of a temple and spit and from his mouth ew peach and azure birds uttering in the milky sweetness of the air.


This morning of Pennsylvania woodchuck and wild geranium, I grasp the connection among all sentient beings and feel communion with the wretched of all species and the dead. The orange swallowtail looping overhead, for example, is really my old grandmother, back to remind me to learn Yiddish, the only international language. Id like her to sit on my nger so we could talk face to face, but she ies out of sight, shouting, Big talker! Dont run on busy streets!

A Hill in Pennsylvania
nathaniel smith At the top of the big hill at Gap, I let my motor fall silent and coast. My dreams and I hiss down to earth like a balloon running out of hot air; the wind becomes a voice I have not heard since it played the same octaves years ago on a Jersey beach. I descend at 120 degrees, like a pilot taking aim at the tarmac. Other hills, minutes ago just freckles on the back of the land, rise on all sides to become a horizon approaching my windscreen. Regretfully, I slow down for the ill-placed red light where hill meets valley. The shadows shrink, panting out a few more moments of life. Advancing dawn nishes them off as a brush shines a shoe. The excitement is over. From here, its atness and trucks all the way to Lancaster.


In the Small World

sandra kohler
After a visit to the model train museum in Strasburg, Pennsylvania

Walk through the black curtain and it is night. The room that houses the world is barnlike and shabby, bare planks underfoot, a worn handrail separates us from the exhibition tables, denes the narrow passage we are crowded into, a constricted ellipse circling the model world. At rst all you see are myriad lights: here it is night when the world is lit by lamplight, oodlights, streetlights, car lights, spotlights, train lights. The darkness glistens as in a childs night-lit room where every shadows gilded. In the light everything in this world is moving. Skaters go round and round the pond, skiers ride the lift up and their skis down over and over on the one snowy slope. The steamboat in the amusement park paddles back and forth its one swath of water, the locomotive on its scaled-down track shuttles from Strasburg to Paradise and back, its smoke clouding the elds where hounds chase the fox they never catch. Tobacco elds are hoed and hoed again, one boy ies a kite behind the barn while scouts camping in the next wood work on their next badge, chopping logs, shooting arrows, boxing: the badge they will never nish. In the playground the seesaw rocks to the drums of the approaching parade. As the soldiers near, the childrens play changes rhythm, and what was singing goes marching. The house on re is conveniently next door to the rehouse. When the alarm sounds engines rush to it the way the ambulance does to the accident down the block; men carry the victim


bloodily away, put out the ames; each returning silence is broken by the scream of sirens. The circus is in the midst of a performance: its parade circles the streets, acrobats riding elephants; in the big tent the high wire act is already in the air, trapeze artists dancing toward and away from each other, while below them seals balance tiny globes, never stopping. Everything starts up and nishes and starts again. No wonder there is a wedding and a funeral both. The wedding party gathers in front of the church while on the other side of the graveyard, a marquee festive and bridal shelters the fresh bed waiting for the ag-draped cofn, and soldiers in blue re seven guns into the stunning silence of old gravestones. It is right that the only funeral is that of a soldier whose death belongs to him the way play belongs to children or answering alarms to reghters or soaring from thin wires into thin air to trapeze artists. The same soldier is buried over and over. No one in this world is lying in a eld gazing at the sky until time stops spinning; no one is painting a picture or carving stone; no one steps outside the music of the many parades to the space where music comes from to create it; no one wrestles alone with the sense of a world moving and still beyond him. Nothing here moves to the inexorable rhythm that musters us to a destination outside this world we surround and encompass like sentinels, larger than life, with its valleys, its mountains, its long days and short nights illuminated for beauty. This is how we live most of the time, small and beautifully moving as these replicas, blind to anything but the dazzling display.


julia kasdorf We keep our quilts in closets and do not dance. We hoe thistles along fence rows for fear we may not be perfect as our Heavenly Father. We clean up his disasters. No one has to call; we just show up in the wake of tornadoes with hammers, after oods with buckets. Like Jesus, the servant, we wash each others feet twice a year and eat the Lords Supper, afraid of sins hidden so deep in our organs they could damn us unawares, swallowing this bread, his body, this juice. Growing up, we love the engravings in Martyrs Mirror: men drowned like cats in burlap sacks, the Catholic inquisitors, the woman who handed a pear to her son, her tongue screwed to the roof of her mouth to keep her from singing hymns while she burned. We love Catherine the Great and the rich tracts she gave us in the Ukraine, bright green winter wheat, the Cossacks who torched it, and Stalin, who starved our cousins while wheat rotted in granaries. We must love our enemies. We must forgive as our sins are forgiven, our great-uncle tells us, showing the chain and ball in a cage whittled from one block of wood while he was in prison for refusing to shoulder a gun. He shows the clipping from 1916: Mennonites are German milksops, too yellow to ght. We love those Nazi soldiers who, like Moses, led the last cattle cars rocking out of the Ukraine, crammed with our parentschildren then learning the names of Kansas, Saskatchewan, Paraguay. This is why we cannot leave the beliefs

or what else would we be? why we eat til were drunk on shooy and moon pies and borscht. We do not drink; we sing. Unaccompanied on Sundays, those hymns in four parts, our voices lift with such force that we lift, as chaff lifts toward God.

Mennonite Farm Wife

janet kauffman She hung her laundry in the morning before light and often in winter by sunrise the sheets were ice. They swung all day on the line, creaking, never a utter. At dusk Id watch her lift each one like a eld, the stretches of white she carried easily as a dream to the house where she bent and folded and stacked the at squares. I never doubted they thawed perfectly dry, crisp, the corners like thorn.

Female Ancestor
ann hostetler
For Irene, whom I never met

A farm woman opens the oven door of the coal stove


to stir the embers, re-latches the door with a cast iron tool, sets it down, wipes her hands, moves to the sink where she bends to peel and soak potatoes. She turns to wipe down the oil cloth, unbottle pickled beets into the blue glass dish passed down from her grandmother. After the meal she bends over the sink, scrapes and washes crusted pots, feeds scraps to the dog. Her daughter dries and puts the dishes away. For decades the woman bends over washing, over mending. She hangs out the heavy sheets, bends over ironing, over tubs of water drawn from the cistern and heated for baths. She bends with sleepy children over their school books, bends over their fever-ushed faces. Twice she bends over a tiny cofn. She bends over her husbands back, her veined, callused hands kneading his work-hardened muscles. Before she dies she cuts down one of his suits, hums as she bends over to sew a traveling outt for her daughters trip to college, the long train ride that will separate them forever.


Buggy Ride at Sixteen

marjorie maddox
Love not the world, neither the things that are in the world. . . . the lust of the esh, and the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life.
1 John 2:1516

Often they snap photos, criss-crossing through town in that world beside ours we do not touch. With their clicks and Kodaks, they take with them three strands unstuck from my bonnet, limp against skin; the vacant nothing I give them of eyes; whatever they want. They do not want me: the cloth coarse in their unfarmer hands, against city knuckles or they do: hair uncoiled, my plain gray cotton undone. We have been warned of the curve of their cars, the clutter of notes, the zig zag of broken mouths. We have been warned how they reel in the road, and us, with looks tighter than lm theyll later expose. We have been warned to look out, away, anywhere else. Our Father which art

in heaven . . . Like a daughter, I stare at the miles of road and my fathers hunched back. I push my foot to the oor.

Papaya: Lancaster County

juanita brunk Inside the Amish health food store Mattie, the eldest daughter, stuffs wedges of papaya into plastic bags and fastens them with rubber bands, the thick brown braids of her hair tied back beneath a bonnet. I think about papaya, swinging in fat globes on the trees of a country shell never visit, being harvested by people she might struggle to imagine, and of the way its sliced and dried and shipped across an ocean to end up in her hands in the dim store where a wooden sign says Millers Food. Horse Ties in Back. No Photography, Please; and the clocks are never changed to daylight saving. Its early, only seven-thirty, standard time. Later, tourists will come with cameras and brochures and photograph her weighing onions, slicing cheese. But now, her face inscrutable and calm, she moves among the shelves of almonds and pine nuts,

herbal teas and remedies that reek of hay. She nods, but we dont speak. Were strangers, really. I know nothing of what she does or doesnt long for. If we meet at all its through the dumb heaviness of fruit, lifted from palm to palm, our ngerprints joining in the bright esh of the papaya, the puckered skin of the prune.

Back with the Quakers

betsy sholl You think you can handle these things: sunlight glinting off a red Jaguar honking at the old woman who has snagged her shopping cart on a snow rut, or the swaggering three-piece suit who steps outside the bank, earless to the mossy voice at his feet asking for spare change, but then the crunch of something, nothing really, under your shoea dirty comb, a pen cap completely undoes you, and its too much, too much, being balanced, considering the complexity of all sides in one syntactically correct sentence. All the driver has to say is, Move it, Lady, and youre back with the Quakers


who trained you to lie still and limp in the street. Three days they stepped on your hair, ground cigarettes half an inch from your nose, while you lay there, trying to be against violence, your sts tight as grenades and a payload of curses between your teeth, O woman, with a mind Picasso could have painted, giving you many checks, each one turned a different way.

Before the Silver Cord Is Loosed

helen mallon To the stone city of arrivals, you carry colored silk from the equator. Your oceanic paintings welcome everyone who passes by. Oh welcome me! In the gallery off the street will you let me touch these lithe, ne-boned webs of fabulous color? I was drawn from a sepia house of ancestors, a decorous bedroom where women in cardigans make tentative gestures. They mistrust the words: seize and feel and know. To the face of friendship I am an onyx pool that seldom stirs but when a sh breaks the surface, I am that splash. Visiting my mothers garden, I press my mouth on every brick in the Quaker wallAm I here? Am I here? I greet you cloaked in layers. Can you smell the opal light? When we were girls, tired of waiting days for you at the iron gate, I dug up one of the teraphim. She had your shape, your eyes I penciled on her oaken face, yours the sidelong smile that vanished in my hand when my breasts were new. I raised my ngertips to make a womans


hollow in my cheek. Before we went to sleep, you plucked one hard leaf from the ivy in your window: Its buttery jasmine, you insisted. Your embroidered bed from the sea village in Mexico. Your nightgown too thin a shield beneath paternal burning stars, and my eyes lay open, listening. I tried to wake you, but you pulled away. We were thirteen. In transparent sleep you sucked your thumb. I sat up to a vibration in the oorthe man who crossed the threshold once, then turned again for more. He tells me to whisper to your dream: for you I will cut off my hair.

In Carpenters Woods
gerald stern This is a corner of heaven here, the moss growing under the leaves, the rocks cropping up like small graves under the trees, the old giants rotting in the shade. I used to come here every Sunday to stand on the bridge and look at the bird-watchers. Once I made love in the dead brush and slept impaled on the thorns, too tired to move; once I gave myself up to the New York Times and buried myself in sections a whole afternoon; once I played football with the radicals while the sun and the rain fought for control. At the bottom of the hill where the trees give way to grass a creek runs through a silent picnic ground almost a mile away from any access. Here the neighborhood dogs broke into their runs at the rst threat of authority. Here the exhibitionists came out in the open

after the long morning with the squirrels and ickers. Here the Jehovahs Witnesses lay down their arms and gathered quietly around the tables. Without knowing the name or the reason I gave myself up to vertigo; I lay for hours with my eyes closed listening to the great sounds coming in from Germantown; I loved the ground so much that I had to hold on to the grass for balance. I can tell you that where those two girls go carefully over the stones, and where that civilized man and his son pick up loose wood for the replace was, for three years, my refuge. I can tell you that I have spent half a lifetime hunting for relief, that in the simplest locations, in libraries, in drug stores, in bus stations as well as under stone bridges and on hillsides I have found places to wait and think. I can tell you that world is as large as the one you sigh and tremble over; that it is also invulnerable and intricate and pleasurable; that it has a serious history; that it was always there, from the beginning.

maxine kumin As true as I was born into my mothers bed in Germantown, the gambrel house in which I grew stood halfway up a hill, or down, between a convent and a madhouse. The nunnery was white and brown.

In summertime they said the mass on a side porch, from rocking chairs. The priest came early on the grass, black in black rubbers up the stairs or have I got it wrong? The mass was from the madhouse and the priest came with a black bag to his class and ministered who loved him least. They shrieked because his needles stung. They sang for Christ upon His cross. The plain song and the bedlam hung on the air and blew across into the garden where I played. I saw the sisters linens ap on the clothesline while they prayed, and heard them tell their beads and slap their injuries. But I have got the gardens mixed. It must have been the mad ones who cried out to blot the frightened sinner from his sin. The nuns were kind. They gave me cake and told me lives of saints who died aame and silent at the stake and when I saw their Christ, I cried where I was born, where I outgrew my mothers bed in Germantown. All the iron truths I knew stood halfway up a hill, or down.


Potters Field, Germantown

robin hiteshew
And he cast down the pieces of silver. . . . And they took counsel and bought with them the potters eld to bury strangers in.
Matthew 27:57

Judas Iscariot threw down his blood money, and this land, bought from Balltes Reser ve pounds and ten, 1765. Resting place of the poorest poor, those strange, unwelcomed, in the towns proper burying placeupwind. The ground in Bowmans Lane, now Queen, beginning at a post by the lane, fourteen perches to John Keysers land, by the same SW ten perches, to a corner in said line, to the land of Christian Lashet, SE fourteen perches to a post by Bowmans Lane. Within these walls put to rest those of color, the heathen, no stones to mark for remembering, cross these many years, save three: WH 1840, SH 1848, and John Brown 1814 or 74. This eld stuck in Pulaskitown, named for Count Pulaski camped with troops on Taggerts farm in that early war. Untended, overgrown for years, they played baseball on it, called it Devils Half Acre, near Thewles yard, Brother Bill Reilly, the black cop, who chased kids who stole the stones for bases, the blue-black guardian of the dead, a legend in Pulaskitown early in this century. Gone too, and this place plowed under,

a playground for negroes. No dead remembered, this playground carved up in recent times for poor and damaged highrise-lives, a concrete ladder for poor souls to heaven. The clamor of the bars wails and drowns out the moaning of the dead, their chorus weaves and sings for no one here on Queens Lane, Bowmans warriors no more.

Wallace Stevens House Prayer

heather thomas
323 North Fifth Street, Reading

In the walled space between red brick rowhouses heal us, Sandman sliver of sky and a girl of half-risen day who conjures in the sandbox under a dusty moon these bricks where cake, sh, catacomb winding and unwinding sheets with the difcult rightness


of sand three stories down to the black iron re escape: Heal us, Sandman, with the difcult rightness of half-risen day, these bricks where the redness sticks fast.

john updike The vacant lots are occupied, the woods Diminish, Slate Hill sinks beneath its crown Of solvent homes, and marketable goods On all sides crowd the good remembered town. Returning, we nd our snapshots inexact. Perhaps a condition of being alive Is that the clothes which, setting out, we packed With love no longer t when we arrive. Yet sight that limited our truth were strange To older eyes; the town that we have lost Is being found by hands that still arrange Horse-chestnut heaps and ngerpaint on frost. Time shades these alleys; every pavement crack Is mapped somewhere. A solemn concrete ball, On the gatepost of a sold house, brings back A waist leaning against a bucking wall.


The gutter-res smoke, their burning done Except for, fanned within, an orange feather; We have one home, the rst, and leave that one. The having and leaving go on together.

Route 222: Reading to Kutztown

heather thomas Jesus lives in biker pieta leather on chrome skin do not pass Stealth, Saturn, Innity Fleetwood to Virginville out of control rare Impala do not pass Zions hex of rusty stars painted on barns ea market setup free your dream house readymade do not pass dead cat, sky-leaping deer blue-bonneted buggy mare overrun with melons mums, whoopie and shoo-y chow-chow, pigs feet, pickled eggs erect asparagus shrines do not pass entourage on pilgrimage

Dryville to Moselem Springs cows sit for rain corneld has little graves.

The Idea of the Ordinary

carmine sarracino

Out of the newspaper, Firewood and Coal, these Dutchmen roll in on their atbed truck. Their clothes heavy and oiled with soil and sawdust. Hands like old tools. Emmet, outen them lights now. silent, just grunts and nods, they dump a cord and go away from these little stacked houses, tungsten streetlamps, last chrysanthemums, like bears snubbing their rst zoo meal.

From Mars, this world a icker, who could guess a block of pasture grass, this actual cow, her oppy hat of gnats? Who could guess the uncorked CC, the open Bible, the loaded Smith and Wesson on the table? Earl Miller on the bed, staring up.

Imagine the odds that all of us on this freezing bus


kids, old folks, different colors (Federal Hill 400 miles away) what are the odds we would all converge just now on exactly this Lancaster bus? A black woman in a back seat reaches and closes her husbands coat over his bony knees. Imagine the odds for love.


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iii. circling east: mines, mountains, and mills

Ode to Coal
sherry fairchok In a place erased by snow, ashes scratch the glass of frozen roads. Those ashes glittered, unburnt, whole, as chunks of coal. The coal sings, each dusty facet sings to the sun through a mouth smothered by earth. Shudder when you hear the voice of coal in the strip-mined elds, in the broken and looted mountains. From Carbondale to Centralia to Shenandoah, the coal eld speaks a broken voice, a song of grief. Then from deep in the mines, anthracite, an ancient frozen lake, a black stone palace, a mountain of buried night. From cellars of old houses, coal, your brittle, glittering body pours out

into our rooms the furious heat from the prehistoric sun you saw. Warmer of bedrooms, lighter of kitchen stoves, maker of habitable winters, you feed the engines of trains, you were smelter of the rails running over the barely open routes, racing buffalo and mustangs. Rock of buried forests and extinct swamps, you give off a sulfurous whiff of death, a reminder of how much time must pass to grind the living into stone, and then how brief their light.

craig czury all this black dust black cinder and glass ground up in the spine of a torn-out trainbed smoke rising out of birch on the culm bank when it begins to rain

a mountain breathing that hot it steams you tell us (blaise cendrars) to write is to burn alive yes but to ll our lungs with these words black dust white sulfur air

Coal Crackers
james hoch Theyve seen Gods black mouth at the end of a mountain road, the cindered tongue slag down through woods thick with crows. Theyve watched the hunger feed on women, sons glazed in sadness, mornings the color left in a shower, taken daily into the shaft house like pills. They move as if once pianos were tied around their waists, a rope reaching back into hills, as if their voices, high loners, were something of His, as if rain-heavy dark still fell on roofs like tiny hammers.


Burning Mountain
w. s. merwin No blacker than others in winter, but The hushed snow never arrives on that slope. An emanation of steam on damp days, With a faint hiss, if you listen some places, Yes, and if you pause to notice an odor, Even so near the chimneyed city, these Betray what the mountain has at heart. And all night Here and there, popping in and out of their holes Like groundhogs gone nocturnal, the shy ames. Unnatural, but no mystery. Many are still alive to testify Of the miner who left his lamp hanging Lit in the shaft and took the lift, and never Missed a thing till, halfway home to supper The bells clangor caught him. He was the last Youd have expected such a thing from; The worrying kind, whose old-womanish Precautions had been a joke for years. Smothered and silent, for some miles, the re Still riddles the ssured hill, deviously Wasting and inextinguishable. They Have sealed off all the veins they could nd. Thus at least setting limits to it, we trust. It consumes itself, but so slowly it will outlast Our time and our grandchildrens, curious But not unique: there was always one of these Nearby, wherever we moved, when I was a child. Under it, not far, the molten core Of the earth recedes from its thin crust Which all the res we light cannot prevent

From cooling. Not a good days walk above it The meteors burn out in the air to fall Harmless in empty elds, if at all. Before long it practically seemed normal. With its farms on it, and wells of good water, Still cold, that should last us, and our grandchildren.

Christ Comes to Centralia

barbara crooker in the late Appalachian autumn; dark culm looms behind the town, papery birches the only thing living. Unemployed miners sit in bars, their clapboard houses tight against the hill, looking like blocks that might all fall down, topple and tipple. Women in babushkas and dark coats shufe down the Centralias streets past boarded houses. Wisps of smoke rise from the ground. A young girl passes the abandoned school, her eyes, anthracite in a pasty face. Think of this: Hell under Main Street! Crevasses yawning in backyards next to jungle gyms and swing sets, steam venting by the onion-domed church, blue light coming from its fractured windows. And where is our Lord? With the dispossessed,

their roots to this Pennsylvania coal town deep and branching as the black veins that spread underneath this town under-riddled by a re pulsing as blood, intricate and branched as winter trees. . . . He is here on the skin of this earth, in a Steelers jacket and knit cap, helping to pack the last cardboard box, looking back before the bulldozers come. Overhead, a crow spreads its glossy feathers, a chunk of coal tossed in the colorless sky.

Centralia (October 31, 1986)

karen blomain Underground the re, wild and consuming breathes through sinkholes punctured in the earths cheek. Near town the makeshift billboard, Centralia Mine FireOur future the road seeps, tar glitters from the unremitting heat. Half the town already sold and moved, the holdouts turn around three times prepare for the long draft of winter. After All Hollows Eve yards crust. Furrows fallow until spring, and sparks along the berm leap, subside and leap again like ideas

we forget, recall in turn within the locus of mild superstitions. Nearby the graveyard awaits the ofces of ames which darted once to twenty feet. natures taste for irony. Caught in the gauze of headlights, the uneven stones warn with the same eloquence as empty houses. Half of one street dark already, the neighbors gone, windows covered with sheets of paneling, porches uncluttered. The new wood a seasonal riot: pumpkins, goblins, a witch and two leggy skeletons, defacings layer upon layer. Next door, a hoop, a eet of bikes in the yard, and the uorescent blur and mutter of a screen, in an upstairs window a woman concentrates at a sewing machine. Under the streetlight, teens in concert shirts hurl grenades of toilet paper, festoon the interlock of wires. Imagine the corner bar, some shouting, cheering, maybe for a game, where anything might come of anger. Imagine the quiet neighbor cutting wood


to seal his front door after him, measuring the exact distance from his parents old transplanted dream. Imagine neatness as consolation, each corner true enough that he might come back years from now, retrieve the childhood hidden in these walls. Listen to his stumbling Polish, a prayer for meals, the only one he can recall. Imagine his wife, checking the truck packed and idling at the curb, walking back into her garden. Imagine a pie tin scarecrow, stubble of pruned roses, the rot of cabbage, a withered arbor, the eyes of sunowers.

This Is Not My Cousin

valerie fox This is me coming to terms with my prole but my cousin, who is always taking my photograph, Kristen, is always in the car. Look, Im standing over this hole in Centralia, Pennsylvania at the mouth of a mine thats been smoking longer than weve been alive, that burned while we were busy stealing each others clothes.


We enjoy this place, skipping the detour on Route 61, entering the toxic zone trespassing up back of the Catholic church where kids used to drink and smoke pot. We stopped off where our Grandmother is buried looked behind all the trees but couldnt nd her. This is not Eurydice looking back there are no owers, there is no pity when the wind chill factor reaches ten below. This is me in my get-lucky red scarf the two ends of which point to innity. See, the ground crosses the invisible lines forming an isosceles triangle. This is not the sensational human condition. God is not in the picture just me and trees and my cousins shadow. We like how I am standing on the high place a smiling paper-doll propped up on the edge about to step back, waving to Columbus. My cousins hands are freezing pink grasping her crutches shes climbing back up the hill with difculty saying if I fall you better catch me. This was right after the Christmas dinner. Were not married or having babies like my sisters so we disappeared, snuck out to see the re and visit our Grandmothers grave.


What They Wanted Us to Bring Back

sherry fairchok When there are no jobs at his union hall, my cousin Joe drives home to work on his house. Its back porch overlooks the charred lump of Moffats breaker. He bought the place from a miners widow who didnt mind the view. The view keeps his mortgage low. Its a handymans special. Masked against paint dust, my cousin scrapes a razor blade back and forth on the staircases balusters, rubbing through stubborn layers to bare the rst coat the one whose brush marks mimic the quarter-sawn oak its rst owners couldnt afford. Paint dust sparkles in red light lancing through an Art Nouveau tulip in the window on the landing. (Ordered from Sears Roebuck in 1915. Four houses on his block have it.) My aunt wishes hed buy a new raised ranch in Abington. My cousin shrugs, admits its nothing great, this two-family, with its rotting porch brackets. Not historic, just old. Its not as if Joe has managed to buy back the place lost to the bank years before our birth when a cave-in shattered our great-grandfathers hip. Still, I dont ask my cousin why he puts in overtime paring back each turning in the staircases cheap millwork until it looks as it did the day the whole town walked to Throop to help shoulder the cofns of the forty men killed in the Pancoast Mines collapse. I dont ask him why he stays in town, why his back yard overlooks


the strip-mined pit our familys men stepped into, one by one, to work they never thought of not taking. We dont speak of what he wants to bring back. Youd think, after listening to the last of the old men gasp into oxygen masks in Moses Taylor Hospital, my cousin Joe would board up his window, move out of town. Too much has happened here; the place is tired. Why do his buddies who torched the breaker stay? Why does my cousin click a new blade into his scraper? Why, miles from Taylor, do I write its poem of ashes, over and over?

Family Portrait, 1933

peter oresick In the center my grandfather sits a patriarch, a boy on his knee and children surrounding. His face says this is my contribution, but the lips want reassurance. My grandmother is a trunk of a woman three children wide, her face stern and unfathomable. While they are stiff and attentive, I want to speak: Father, little Father,


we are both twenty now. Hear me. You will lease your body to machines like the man did on whose shoulder you rest your hand. After forty years youll whisper, Im just an old man smoking cigarettes in the cellar, xing radios. Uncles, aunts, I cant keep track of you. Live. Grandfather, grandmother, dont worry. Ill be born in twenty-two years and grow strong and bury you. Uncle Mike, old mole, you will bury yourself in the coalelds of Pennsylvania. Please resume now. Come unfrozen, quickly, do what you must do.

Working the Face

jay parini On his belly with a coal pick mining underground; the pay was better for one man working the face. Only one at a time could get so close, his nose to the anthracite, funneling light from a helmet, chipping, with his eyes like points of re. He worked, a taproot

tunneling, inward, layer by layer, digging in a world of shadows, thick as a slug against the oor, dark all day long. Whenever he turned, the facets showered a million stars. He was prince of darkness, stalking the village by 6 p.m., having been to the end of it, core and pith of the worlds rock belly.

Coal Train
jay parini Three times a night it woke you in middle summer, the Erie Lackawanna, running to the north on thin, loud rails. You could feel it coming a long way off: at rst, a tremble in you belly, a wire trilling in your veins, then diesel rising to a froth beneath your skin. You could see the cowcatcher, wide as a mouth and eating ties, the headlight blowing a dust of ies. There was no way to stop it. You lay there, fastened to the tracks and waiting, breathing like a bull, your ngers lit at the tips like matches. You waited for the thunder of wheel and bone, the axles sparking, re in your spine. Each passing was a kind of death,

the whistle dwindling to a ghost in the air, the engine losing itself in trees. In a while, your heart was the loudest thing, your bed was a pool of night.

The Miners Wife Leaves Home

karen blomain The only way out is by train, the whistle that muscles its way into your sleep. Leave the bed quietly, go barefoot through the grass, then run alongside (your heart will want to pop its cage) And desperate, begin this song: You can take Nothing, not the earrings paired for the night in their safe compartments, not the moon shaped nail clippings, your brush matted with hair, or the heavy locket of photos.

Dont look back for smoke rising or wonder if you left the tap running. Let your legs gain air, until they are wings. Grab the rail and hold tight. Close your eyes against cinders. When the heavy boots, the ashlight discover you, reveal no history, bleach yourself white and stare, dont ask questions, dont imagine destinations.

So the Coal Was Gone

thomas kielty blomain So the coal was gone and the county froze, scarred from the scraping, poisoned by the sulphur, and children drown where they swim in the summer that heats the rank river. A dirty carpet over the hills unrolled; the miners helmet, old and rusted. So culm mountains and slag bear scrub growth now, all along

the highway that runs right through. Passengers in cars sense malodor through windows closed for the passing asking where is this on the map? Which black dot? So black lung is a pension coughing in the streets where nurses walk and watch their feet past the bars that still for a dime offer the past and various ways to forget. So kids know anthracite by its name and throw chunks of it at passersby, laughing on the railroad tracks and at the caboose going by the city slower than the rest of the world.

Showing a Friend My Town

harry humes These are the switchbacks off the ridge, the shack where an old man froze one winter. This is the swamp where each spring small frogs oat up to the low branches of white birch. This is the alley, the telephone pole where a father put up backboard and rim. These are explosions, sirens, cries from dirt cellars. These are bats and nighthawks, this the old railbed to the mine, these the lace curtains that caught a Sunday afternoon breeze, here are basement steps,

the door with its broken latch to the backyard, the path up to the shadows beneath the laurels. These are mothers leaning in good evening weather across porches, their voices like white sheets almost dry on the line. These are windowsills coated with dust from trucks up and down High Road, water streaming from tailgates, blast of air horns. These are tomato plants growing in coal ash, this the double mock orange bush, this the sage, this the fox tail nailed to the pigeon coop. This is the empty chair beneath the maple.

March 10, 1951

craig czury the women broke their backs from the weight of their bitter hearts what was left me by age birthright handed me through time the men hoisted tacked to sticks in front of the main gate later set them down too and drove home to sleep forever i inherited the pigeons i inherited the black-star hole through each one of these window panes dust-thick air in the throat


an abandoned space i inherited your abandoned space like a heavy rusting door your vacated spools looms shut down and silent your years i inherited your hours and gnawing sense somethings gone

Bones & Ashes

helen ruggieri Old women in babushkas walk along the tracks with scuttles picking coal; they winnow ashes, scatter them over the icy winter walk. They save bones from Sundays meat, boil them till the marrow makes broth, give whats left to the dogs to bury under the lilacs. Dish water scrubs the oor, egg shells and coffee grounds feed the earth for potatoes, onions, cabbage, beets. They waste nothing. Their left hands fold over rosaries count each bead twice as they work. What sins do they covet proigacy, waste?

anthony petrosky Through rain I see huge moonless spaces, intricate scars in the earth, a ne thread of water. Two voices in the clouded space name the planets, the moon, the earth. Postwar mining town, the color of stone and Kodachrome fades into the womens eyes. Theyre there in Exeter, Pennsylvania, counting, chanting in Lithuanian the names of mines and mills with the same slow song that seeps through the dark tunnels. So this is the way silent things speak. Who told the stars their names? Certainly not the man in the photograph too long in paper mills where only the stars are in his swollen eyes. There is little to be said for that misguided winter when my father went to work the mills.

The Strippings
linda tomol pennisi We called it the bush. Woods, forest came later. We called the mudholes ponds. The soil, sprinkled with slag,

tried to look glittery. We called the soil dirt; the slag, we called coal dirt. The boys swam in The Lily, a mile away, and too deep. We could not swim; we could oat. Wed oat into the bush, around the edges of holes. The sun ung a sadness there. We laughed and played in it. At the Big Pond wed oat into our muddy faces. We called the stripping Judy fell into a coal hole. The town took days to nd her, far from her boyfriends parked car. Coal holes were deep and lined with trash. She was an older girl. We knew not to go anywhere near them at night.

Cousin, Will You Take My Hand?

jerry wemple In Shamokin, they chop the heads off dogs. Half a dozen young men, march out to the strippings Stomping toward the edge of town In old boots with a few rounded-up strays. Bury them neck deep coal dust and culm. Dull ax, Army-Navy store machete.


Its done. The year before, the same ones stood On the downtown street corner, hassling The Asian family stopping to buy fast food On their way to Reading. One night, Two of them punched a black man Square in the face while the others egged them on. (What the hell was a spade doing there anyway?) Then the back of six vans opened up And the state troopers rounded the boys up, Helped their colleague to his feet. In 1900, John Mitchells chore was uniting Men the same age as these boys. Johnnie Da Mitch walked these dusty, lthy streets. How do you say Union means Unity in a dozen different languages? This is where mine bosses sent their hunkies Down the tunnel before rst light. Men Long dead and buried out in the township cemetery Died before they grew old enough to forget The taste of the cane they got as breaker boys, Moving too slowly to make J. P. Morgan richer faster. Everybody came from somewhere else. First it was the Irish, who stoned the Slavs Recruited to keep wages down. The Italians Found the Klan didnt cotton to another set


Of funny-speaking papists. Micks, and Polacks. Greasy wops. No one in New York Knew their names. There is safety and chaos in numbers. Make family work with family, no outsiders. Deed property to their churches, give em Their own neighborhoods. Make sure they stay there. Mitchell walked these streets saying, Cugino, That aint Italian coal, or Irish coal, or Polish coal. Thats coal. President McKinley says a full dinner pail. How full is yours? In Shamokin, they chop the heads off dogs. Punch You square in the face for having skin half as dark As the coal their great-grandfathers died for. This town has a dozen churches half empty, and two dozen saloons half full. Mined out, unwanted, the land turns again. Puertoriqueos making cheap, factory Greeting cards as the orescent light ickers above. The Bengali motel bookkeeper, black kids moved From city strife to this. Out in the Third Ward, Cousin waves to cousin, parks his Pontiac out back. Dzie dobry, kuzyn. Gene Autry! This is a Polish joke. Mitchell does not walk these streets anymore. On Friday nights boys ght each other on the football eld, And everyone else every other day.

After that, its chain-store work, or prison work, or prison. While underneath the streets tunnels still echo In a language lost a long time ago.

Susquehanna: The Projects

ruth ellen kocher This was a home. A home of rows separating there and here. Rows of rooms for three or six of ten. Rooms of few windows the women looked out. Windows that faced a four-foot yard. A yard that sprung from culm dust and layers of soot. Culm and birch streaked white. Streaked black. Birch woods from waste piles of boxcar dirt. Waste from coal belts, like giraffes without heads. Coal belts from factories with their eyes knocked out. A sky above maples raging from rust. Maples grown in ore confessed from the earth. Ore that cooled near a furnace in weeds. A furnace of stones carried by hand, ringed in slag thats evening blue. Slag that surfaces in heavy rain, a secret returned from an azure grave. Rain that fed our river into a bitch that owed. A river that swallowed in nine hundred homes. Nine hundred families that needed to sleep. A sleep that was built into corners and walls. Corners that made up small, white rooms. Rows of rooms, and rooms and rooms. This was a home.


The Field (an Excerpt)

linda tomol pennisi Its hard to see. This evening Im walking Tielman Road. In this part of Pennsylvania coal elds border corn elds. Black and green touch and quiver. It is summer. A train shimmies from the tangle of trees, pulses across the upper eld like a sentence that has been stuck in the throat for a long time, part of the narrative, slow in its coming. Will it take days for these reverberations to fade? A boy in a red pickup clatters by, and beyond the kicked-up dust another boy takes shape, working in the lower eld, growing or harvesting as if his life depends on it.

The Jeweler
peter oresick He always repaired a cross and chain free. Once he outtted our basketball team with Holy Infant of Prague medals; he insisted they were the difference in 37 against Frackville. He was oating in for a lay-up when a number 22, a Methodist, grabbed his chain, choking him silly. He got so angry he changed the score by himself.

Someone told me he worked in the mill one day. Just walked out. Left for watch repair school in Scranton. On his gravestone is carved a small clock and on each side a owering vine. At least thats how his brother, a sandblaster, has worked it out. Before the last trumpet that clock should ring and ring and ring.

Real Faux Pearls

betsy sholl The announcer promises, and we snicker: A real falsehood with its own 800 number sponsoring the evening newsbizarre as those fast-talking men from childhoods low transmission channels, who used to peel, dice, shredanything in thirty seconds, with a one time only, while they last, magic kitchen device. Those afternoons, mother at work, wed rearrange her diamonds and pearls, opals, aquamarines. We knew where each one came from, and which would be ours when she diedas if thats the price. And how else to appraise grandmothers humongous ring, but by hours of laundry taken in, steps paced in the shoe store, by the music and books she didnt have, not to mention


the mines back then. Now in a crusted leather case on my dresser that ring sits glowering and silent, like grandfather refusing to lift his legs while she feels under the sofa, sticks her hands in crevices between cushions, her tears magnied by thick lenses, until nally she catches its gleam in a tangle of hair stuck to the broom. Those old days, miners went down before sunrise, came up after dark. A man would be sent in alone to test the air because mules were expensive. Now, they could wear masks, make black lung a thing of the past, but they dont. And as if they need an edge to keep from getting claustrophobic, they even carry butane lighters in their pockets as they lie on their backs rattling through the dark, straight down. On Sundays, the same men sit in church, shoulders hunched, faces pale as feet, necks in tight collarsgrown men at the altar dropping pearls from their eyes for a lost friend, a bad marriagefaux maybe, Sunday pearls, because it takes a long time to really mean it when you say youll change, to really see how false things are, like my own precious hide, for instance, the way I was taught to hold back, contain myself, cast nothing before swine, and see swine everywhere. A pearl


could be somebodys eyes, its possible, a real one at leastthe wide stunned eyes of a young diver caught in a rock chamber. Coal comes from lungs. You can see along the tracks, they walk stooped and wheezing, up the hill to the clinicthin lungless men, never as old as they look. If I think this hard enough, what will be precious to me? If I shut my eyes, and make myself dark and still, here, where light through a green glass lily, a red ame, falls onto white cloth, what will I nddown on my knees among this coughing, these tears?

Polka Dancing to Eddie Blazonczyk and His Versatones in Coaldale, Pennsylvania

leonard kress Id come, even if I wasnt invited, to dance polkas, obereks, czardaszes with her. Id ping beyond recovery my last-legs-Datsun, bucking it up into the mountainsturnpike, tunnel, Minersville, Slabtown, the Ashland Coal Breaker, exed like a great bullying arm to ing gravel into the doglegs of these patches. Where gold church domes bubble up on the surface from sizzling underground veins, and tropical blooms of unmowed Byzantine blue rash across towns abandoned. Her dad would already be downing pitchers of the liqueed amber his Baltic


ancestors traded, convinced that enough of it ushing his system might purge the coal dust. By the time Id arrive, hed be at the urinal, among others, groaning black piss. And her mom, terried that her son, back, from the city and the sex life there that all here suspect but dont mention, might drag some young guy from the line at Mack Truck into the Chicken Dance or Fire, Fire. Such unequivocal joya squeezebox resting on gut, fueled by six-packs and old ladies shaking devils ddles, all so she can hop and twirl, and thread through dancers thickening from heat and age like roux. So she can sweat herself slippery, too slick to hold on to, changing her outt, her partner with each new set.

A Different House
paul martin Whats the word for soup? For church? For book? And how do you say hes sick but hes going to work? The three of us sit at the table drinking beer, testing each other, paging through the Slovak dictionary that opens the door to the house on Lehigh Street where our grandmother lifts the soup from the back of the coal stove and pours it into nine plates with a zhufana,

where the men suck the shpic out of the beef bones and hlieb is the bread our father kisses when it falls from the table, where smoked shunka hangs from the attic rafters and the goose breathes in his tight pen in the ground cellar. Whats the word for the quilt made of its feathers we sleep so deeply under? For the plum brandy our grandfather sips those nights he tells us about the Cossacks, swords drawn, storming across the borders? Whats the word for the way light gathers on his broad forehead as he spreads the cards in a tight circle, leaning two against each other on top, and we take turns, starting at the edge, drawing one card slowly toward us, trying not to bring down the house?

In Cursive
len roberts I struggled with the Os touching the bottom and top blue lines, their oval ows, their short pig tails that looped into other Os until the page was lled and I turned to the just-as-difcult Qs, the day never ending in that second-grade class when we learned to write in cursive Mary saw John,

and Mary and John saw Spot, the picture of a dog running down a street littered with leaves bringing me here to October Wassergass where my son rolls in piles of reds, golds and yellows as his dog, Magic, barks and barks, the wind with its Ws whispering over us through the bare trees that look like crooked Ys and bent Ts, the uncut grass of the eld a mess of Is gone wild on a page I conjure up with its own margins of Good, Good, Good, and rows of glittering stars on top, the world like a bowl of alphabet soup to be deciphered and arranged while the adults endlessly talked and clattered forks, knives, spoons, the meanings there in deep red sauce, here everywhere I look, the letters arranging themselves in Vs of geese ying south and termite tracks carved

on undersides of bark, even the leaves falling a hieroglyph I strain to make out, the instant H and A and N, the splitsecond of perfect sense before its torn to shreds.

Spring Peepers, April, Wassergass

len roberts They leap, big as baby rabbits from the ponds edge as I swerve in with the tractors deck to whack the weeds already grown too high, early April, their astoundingly plump bodies suspended a split-second above the green water that mirrors them, legs stretched, a mix between a dive and belly op Ive often seen my children perform at this very spot while I watched the surface for their heads to pop up, say theyre all right, their own kind of croak that reminded me of how I would drift nights in a boat more than thirty years ago

on a lake whose name I cant bring back, how the ashlight stunned the frogs on pads, logs, in shallows of muck, my hands snatching them up to toss into the burlap bag from where, in the pitch-black night, would rise sudden spurts of song.

Easter Sunday, Seisholtzville

ann e. michael After sunrise service she comes home ties an apron over her good spring dress pulls on her overshoes. The lawns damp as fresh wash, sky overcast. She is harvesting the dandelions with an old serrated knife swift plunge and twist snaps up the beige root white at the core (its good for womens troubles dried and powderedher great-aunt said shed swear by it). But what shes after are new leaves tartly pungent and still tender enough to wilt in a hot pan with bacon dressing: German sweet-&-sour served with mashed potatoes and glazed ham. She wont kneel to earthin her best clothes it doesnt matter she appears awkward (leaning as she is into the greening lawn while levering out the weeds) placing them into a very clean old pillowcase. Tooth-shaped leaves shell soak and rinse and triple rinse:

all winters soil cleansed away for feasting, for the primeval groaning-board of springs day-long repast.

We Never Leave
jason moser We never leave these dense lands: shale, coal and ore, hewed by Moravians and Iroquois long before, possess our lives and not-so-fortunes. Center of town cemeteries hold the keys to our bound futures. Depressed names carry carved names, resurrecting them in the now: Kunkle, Smith, Heintzleman. All present as ghosts and esh. Babies born, bearing these names, wail at birth. We know them, remember brothers or sisters. Growing up, we attend the same schools, study under the same names, learn the same trades, as always. Every winter we burden the weight of gray skies snow, spend summers swimming in quarries, manufactured lakes and dams, restrained by the mountains rm parameters. We grow icy and hard, like the drinks sipped at roadside bars; Dutchs and Pappas. Whiskeys, lagers, ales: penetrating drinks dissipate the concrete souls soured

and singed by the apathetic sun. These are drinks of earned redemption. City strangers never understand the ways we ght and thwart, while concealing and protecting, this place. They cant know, even after generations pass. We forget where they may be from, but always remember it was not here. Some of us ee, search the beyond. Yet the land lives inside, weights their beings with iron casts. Some escape beyond the mountainous boundaries, remorse and regret family forsaken behind walls vaulted. Knowing they are always here. Rooted in craggy ground, stretching vines across borders belonging to others, winding, nding their reprieve a formal physicality. We look onward seeing nothing. No expectation, no ux. We welcome the stagnancy resting on our lakes, homes, and skies. It tells us, we are not damaged. Ive whispered back. I am here. My pleas echo in chambered hills, fragment, return. I know returning. We never leave.


ann e. michael This road winds through low hills I remember seeing outtted in shawls of green corn or tatty threads of greyish-yellow stubble with a hawk circling above. Now, fourteen large houses gleam baldly in Januarys harsh light, an impermanence about them. Cornelds live with transience; the same unsettledness looks unsympathetic in a eld of houses unprotected, somehow, by the brickface and siding no hawk circles above. I want my house to feel settled in the midst of toads, muskrats, kestrels, to feel the shelter of corn and woodlots, to be sought by the soft brown whispering bats to accept the transient nature of earths wild things, belonging, as it must, among them.


Hawk Falls
dan maguire September. Already ying is the buzz and hum of summer. The poignancy of autumn is more eloquent than tuneless monologues of temperature, the sterile drone of air-conditioned rooms. But talk of harvests and of Halloween is muted by the buzz and hum of walks through woodlands the hymns of dragonies, the litanies of bees that pray a man back to a boyhood summer, when the journey was the destination and each day rose hopeful as a Saturday. Camping near there, early June, I drink the thirsty mornings, the effervescent sun. The nights do not come walking hand-in-hand with sunset, but fall, total and abandoned, a sweet, dark lover to her lovers arms. The clarity of black is sharp against the milky blue of sky, sugar-dusted with the stars that guide like footlights poised around a planetary stage, waiting for the cue, Lights up, their tiny counterpoints of eyes watching from the bloom of res, far below. Walking there late August, ankle deep in leaves and needles sharp as summer dreams, my soul seeks one more pair of nesting hawks,


a single soaring kestrel, to take home, to hold against the coming days of ice and dark at ve oclock. Leaves that leapt too soon, mistaking cool nights for November, crack their dry, brown voices underneath my boots. They rasp that I will join them soon, will y with them to hide in shadowed corners from the Northwinds broom. I will not stand-in-waiting for the black and white of winter. I will return to Hawk Falls in October, to celebrate the summer that has been. I shall ignore the truth, that I too am deciduous, must fall and wither, sere as any leaf that molders into powder on the silent ground. I will return when Maples blaze, when Oak and Chestnut glow and spark, join my ery forest brothers, deant, shouting, red and gold.


Climbing the Three Hills in Search of the Best Christmas Tree

len roberts Just seven nights from the darkest night of the year, my son and I climb the three hills behind the white house, his ashlight leaping from hemlock to r, to white pine and blue spruce and back again. Up, up higher he runs, shadow among larger shadows in the below-zero, constellated half-mooned sky, his voice so distant at times I think it is the wind, a rustle of tall grass, the squeak of my boots on new snow, his silence making me shout, Where are you?, his oating


back, Why are you so slow?, a good question I ask myself to the beat of my forty-eight-year-old heart, so many answers rushing up that I have to stop and command them back, snow devils whirling before me, behind me, on all sides, names that gleam and black out like ancient specks of moonlight, that old track I step onto like an escalator rising to the ridge where the best trees grow and I know I will nd my son.


david staudt
The Jaycee Peewee League: Army, Navy, Air Force, and Notre Dame

Tonight in the valley the stadium lights forge a bracelet of bright stones. Talking too fast to breathe, their mouths wanting air, little mock cheerleaders run home along the highway holding their sides. Headlights gather them out of dark, lift the small bodies, turn and gently set them down, like a dream of fondling in the fey and delicate mind of a twelve-year-old. The Knee-Hi football boys, the sleek backs, the chubby guards and linebackers all must be limping through town on clotted cleats now up Mahoning Streets long haul. Everyone laughing, dead tired.


Its after ten, Navy beat Notre Dame again, the crowd smells gas and turf: and out by the silent highway, the green and gold of the little cheerleaders mimics a team they know is for real and is not theirs. Something makes them stare with the calm, disappointed faces of mill women into headlights that shortly blind them. Everyone has grown old suddenly. Now all the pretty things white wool sweaters pleats friends are only borrowed, and must be shown good care.

paul martin Gallivantin is the word we heard those days my mother was overcome by the urge to catch the bus to the city,


leaving behind that smoky town, her cooking and cleaning, to lose herself in the crowd moving through the revolving doors into Hesss, leading us down perfumed aisles below golden chandeliers, stopping to stare into a mirror from behind brightly owered dresses she held in front of herself, laughing with people wed never seen, then breezing out that store into the next, her light voice trailing back to my brother and me in shorts, scrambling to keep her in sight, growing harder by the minute to recognize.

karen blomain

All the cherubs in Allentown cemetery have lost their heads to boys with bats. Coyly canted forward on their toes when the blows came they remain, geese tug the caul of evening over the city. Emblazoned on brick rows, windows and the burl of maples, dolorous purple spooks the days

orange. Askip like missing pickets, hearts track evenings scent around corners. Eager to beat it home we dont look back. In love the middle-aged are leery of signs.

The middle-aged are leery of signs and just as well in a city where underwear is aired on backyard lines. Bloomers swell, gusted full to the ample size of arses, and straps stretch and dangle like ganglia. Feeling the pinch of pins and stitches once the starch is gone, they crave the freedom of not caring what is seen by anyone. The woman on the corner walking her dog lets her bathrobe fall askew, unabashed as if a cabbys leers could redress the fears of all the cherubs in Allentown.

The Quarry
paul martin Out where I live sportsmen stock the exhausted quarry with trout. Two weeks later they circle the place and like kids at a carnival, hook them out. Its a loner who comes in the dead heat of July stepping around shattered beer bottles to cast, sit back on his haunches and wait.


Whenever I see him, his eyes drifting out to an empty sky, I feel the slack and think of the times Ive seen him down at the Ruchsville Hotel silent at the end of the bar until he gets drunk enough to tell me about his ignorant boss, his ungrateful kids, his twenty-year marriage going dry. All he wants now is to sh, half a continent away, a place so remote a bush pilot will have to y him into a small clearing, a clear glacier lake where he feels the line go taut across his ngers, the sudden deep plunge into blood until he comes back to himself, exhausted and undivided, drinking and laughing with other men the thrill of wilderness just outside their circle of light.

J.B. Phones Me at the End of Summer, Asking Where I Find Silence in the Lehigh Valley
steven myers Let it be Sunday, pre-dawn. Let the snow that began Saturday afternoon when the dark came on keep falling, and let it be blown soundlessly. Let it be frozen January and the moon new below the horizon. Let the sky depend from iron hinges, the land decline

from forest to formless plain, the slowfall sift and dune in the wind-scoured open. Let the ground mole batten on blackness in its own den, every internal combustion engine go cold as glaciated stone. Let the mind be Norwegian, die-cast, the ear attune itself to the one bird alone abroad before the thin sun ssions, windspan-borne on the liquid nitrogen morning air. Let him darken a dropline drawn from Orion over South Mountain, down toward the drifted lawn. Let him turn, his oat-plane attening overhead. Listen: a sudden motion-plosion under wing, brief backspin of aftertone, then intimation of the non-below the baseline, then the grey-green zone of gone


The Poconos
robin becker My mother joined the Leni-Lenape when Pennsylvania Power and Light dammed Lake Wallenpaupack and she turned eight. In Philadelphia Bubbie sewed name tags into underwear and chose Camp Pine Forest for its strict counselors and Friday night corn roasts. My mother and her sister rose high into the Poconos, past waterfalls and rivers where the eldest became an Iroquois among unruly bunkmates, raiding the Shawnee and short-sheeting the Minisink. My mother shed peaceably for perch and shad


with the other Leni-Lenape and pursued the arts and crafts of clay, wood. She gave her birch bark box in friendship and taught the Seneca to build a gabled frame from saplings. For seven summers she portaged and rowed, roaming the woods with her clan, and in time, after Color War, the tribe made her a Pine Tree and she sat at tribal council, where she presided over her children, distinguished by her compassionate nature, bartering her freedom for a modest home on a small tract of land.


harry humes For nearly an hour in the early April dusk I watched thirteen deer slowly feed across winter wheat. Youd have thought them part of the sky, so buoyant they seemed, so delicately attached to earth, black hooves hardly bending the wheat. Every once in a while one would look to where I knelt in a corner of the L-shaped eld, and stamp its foot, ears nervous over the dark eyes and the delicate lines of nose and neck, or twitch its brilliant white tail. Though Id neither moved nor coughed, something had drifted across the evening, that took them, unhurried, toward the elds edge and over its border of dry pennyroyal and briars, and into the woods, where one by one, in that place, their shyness vanished into the shyness among the trees.


Image not available

iv. hills and ridges: the susquehanna valley and central pennsylvania

Naming Heraclitus
sandra kohler The ultimate day of the penultimate month of the year, either the ultimate or penultimate year of the century, the millennium. All of which seems utterly not to matter to me, this morning. Its cold, perfectly clear, the creek gleaming white satin streaked with black, reected trunks of the trees. Nothing touches me. Untrue, untrue, and what a thing to say: a hex, a dare to the gods. Perhaps only the small matters: a day on which you crossed off four items on a list, baked bread, nished the laundry, used your body in three different ways, saw two herons, or one in two places, listened to someones story and told one of your own. Yesterday morning as I walked there were gunshots from both sides of the river. The small islands downriver on the horizon are oating on a river of light into a different light, like my life this autumn, this winter, this solstice. The herons taken refuge in the camouage of dun-gray-brown woods, I dont see him, but I name him: Heraclitus. Because he doesnt step into the same river twice. Because I am not sure he is the same heron. Because I love the idea that the philosopher of change, ux, rivers has been reincarnated as a great blue heron standing, timid, fastidious, on the marshy edge of a great unnavigable river, delicately lifting skinny legs, dipping them back into the new stream.


November Textures
karl patten
For Kit

The rewoods split and stacked, jigsawed in three dimensions Against the house, the marigolds have gone rusty In the patch of ground where I think the great chiefs, Shikellamy and Cornower, palavered, Squatting by the wall north of the bean row, Feet planted in the land I till. Only the Brussels sprouts can feed us now, and when I work My backs like cornstalks creaking as the air Clamps iron on the sweat From maul, hatchet, saw. I cant walk through November leaves Without kicking them up to feel their fall. I lazy my way home. To memorize the sun stretching out in orange and purple Through a cover of low gray clouds, A sky amiable to a jaybirds Grievances, a squirrels chatter. Novembers chill, bold, A month of the hand, sinewed, chapped. Not many oak leaves fall. I pick one up, at in my palm, another handquercusits queer Crispness blesses my skin as you blessed me When you were born in November. The geese are honking south in a perfect V. We know the river They follow. In the blue twilight the old Chiefs are still parleying.

charles j. rice I was four when my grandparents rst drove me up over the ood wall in the green beast. The Susquehanna crunched forward, chunks of ice the size of cars slamming together in a race for the Chesapeake. That was the day I found out that the river and I are distant cousins, removed by hills and elds and miles of pot-holed black top, both of us leaving a scar behind us, both of us with a specic destination in mind, a bigger body to swallow and accept us. Ive heard that the kids from Sunbury swim in the West Branch because it is cleaner. The logic is a coin toss between the sulfur stained run-off from the abandoned mines of Western Pennsylvania and the poison cocktail of industrial dumping from the north. The river doesnt seem to care either way, accepting all of it, including the stoned bodies of teenagers jumping from the old train bridge. In the stillness of summer evenings, the river throws back

distorted reections of the constellations, pin holes in the blue-black blanket of the eastern seaboard sky. They pulse in reply, accepting the rivers offering. The river sings with a rolled tongue, a poem gargled against muddy banks, a song sucking creeks and streams into itself. It babbles a story to me, a story about a girl. Im jealous of the way it surrounds her island. I imagine her grandparents warning her to stay away from it, in spite of the fact that shes surrounded by its two branches and the fat furious body they become. I wonder, in spite of all their lectures about suck-holes, how many times shes been baptized in its silty swells. The river remains swollen from yesterdays rain, the pelting of angry drops like a back hand against bare skin. I understand the rivers determination, its rising and widening, resolved to push the aftermath of the storm into the bay, to run clear and shallow again, to have no secrets concealed in murky depths.

The Agnes Mark

gary fincke
Hurricane Agnes, in the early 1970s, drove the Susquehanna River to a record ood.

My son wanted the thunderstorm turned down Like a radio. He asked me where The knobs were, the great handles for God Who could x clouds or repair wind through wires To weather. Id told him the secrets Of magic, where the tricks were hidden For ascending ropes and levitated Women, and now he wanted to cross The Susquehanna stone to stone where We walked it weekly like geographys Linemen, conrming it so open And shallow all summer, I repeated The story of Jimmy Karas, who drowned While shing in Pine Creek where you could wade, Except after heavy rain, from one side To the other, where no one would sh Except in the deepest pools, where you Couldnt drown unless you shed alone And fell and struck your head; and my son Nodded at circumstance as if he Were memorizing another set Of times tables or the number of steps A student of mine had fallen, hitting Her head exactly where the brain shows Its vital stem. For that awful luck, Id said Id tumbled down stairs, wooden And carpeted and cement, nine times, And broke nothing except tooth and skin, Though nobody else, as far as I knew, Had drowned in Pine Creek or Penns Creek, where

Wed crossed before the rain a hundred yards From its end in the Susquehanna Where thousands, I repeated, had drowned. The truth was he knew I was frightened Of water the way I was afraid Of heights, that I feared so many things I wasnt to be trusted with advice On danger. I was wrong about water And the qualities of buoyancy. My stories featured only the dead: Thered been so much rain in January, So shortly after the heavy snow, The river rose past each recorded stage But the Agnes Mark, stalled my friends car So suddenly it seemed terried To go on. It squatted, door open, In the channel of his river road, And nobody had the strength to close it.

sandra kohler In the streets of Renovo the past is soot, a ne pervasive grit that blacks every surface, the coal that fuelled its engines ground to meaningless remnant, a smear of used energies. What dirty old rags are burning? The architecture of desire is redrawn at every stage of knowledge. What we hope for ourselves, for our children, for the children we imagine our children conceiving changes like the blueprints

of cities over a century: expansion, contraction, the real impinging. Todays weather is white and hot, unforgiving as stones underfoot. In Renovo nothing is forgiven. Sol Marks son, young Sol, an old man, tends his fathers store, surrounded by boxwood, mountains, dirty brick, the dust of August settling already in June. When his father lived, his uncles, it was a railroad town, its back turned to the river, its face to the acres of yards where engines were repaired, the calligraphy of lines that carried men to capitals, cities, another life, daily. Dont let my children live in Renovo: town that has lost its lungs, heart, engine and gazes, hollow, at the brick monuments of its losses.

julia kasdorf Now I see that the rst boy I loved loved speed for its own sake the way we all loved our bodies before learning to feel ashamed. He built plywood ramps on parking lots all over town and crouched on a skateboard as it swooped and shot across asphalt. His orange VW careened down steep mountain roads the one night we sneaked off and drove almost to dawn. Yet he could be patient, sweet, unable to believe Id never been kissed

at fteen, though I earnestly practiced tilting my head back, uttering eyelids, tonguing the end of my st so Id know what to do when he took me in his arms in the dark in the woods when I would not refuse what I knew must be the drive that can wreck a girl, despite her own intentions. That whole brutal summer I pulled weeds in my fathers garden, my body stunned by its great momentum and a halting restraint like bad brakes. Once I stood up light-headed in the sun certain Id drop over dead with desire, dense and pure as lead in my veins, but I never succumbed, and in the end we both accused the other of loving less. For the next decade I plodded through school and married while he dropped out, drove customized vans to dealers throughout the Midwest, then moved east, delivering papers too precious to fax. Last I heard, he works for the railroad running freight through Pennsylvania at night when tracks are clear of passenger trains. Sometimes I wake to a distant whistle and think of his engine somewhere in the mountains rushing toward Baltimore or Williamsport, nothing to stop him.


The Little League World Series: First Play

marjorie maddox
Williamsport, Pennsylvania

Teams crowd the hills, ll in the land along the river, uniforms, like patches of colorful cows amidst the elds. All the corn points to the ballpark, the small towns downtown leaning in for the anthem. It is time to begin: the countries and counties in parents faces shufe in the stands. A TV camera shifts to a close-up. At the plate, a child, half the height of a tractor, breathes in his heroes, exhales the length of the state. In the nervous grip of a twelve-year-old: planting, youth, harvest, old age.

Going Back
gregory djanikan We have been cruising, half a block at a time, my wife, my two children, all morning, and I have been pointing out unhurriedly and with some feeling places of consequence, sacred places, backyards, lush elds, garages, alleyways. There, I say, by this cottonwood, thats where I dropped the y ball, 1959. And in 1961, I say, at this very corner, Barry Sapolsky tripped me up with his gym bag. My son has fallen asleep, my daughter


has been nodding yes indiscriminately for the last half hour, and my wife has the frozen, wide-eyed look of the undead. Maybe lunch, I say, though Im making now my fourth approach to Curtin Jr. High School, yellow-bricked, large-windowed, gothic, where Frank Marone preyed on our terror once and Janice Lehman walked in beauty. Salute, everyone, I say, salute, bringing my hand up to my brow as we pass the gilded entrance, This is where things of importance happened, and I am pulling out from under the car seat a photo album of old school pictures, Page 8, I say, Fred Decker, John Carlson by the bike rack, Mr. Burkett . . . , and driving on, following the invisible map before my eyes. Now we are drifting toward my boyhood house and I am showing my wife trellised porches, bike routes, more than shed care to see; Why this longing? she says, What about now, the kids, our lives together, lunch, me? I give her a kiss and turn right on Cherry and there in front of our eyes, barely changed, is the house where all my memories converge. Look at the windows of my room, I say, see, there, the shadowy gure moving behind them? And before anyone can hope to answer, I have grabbed my camera, I am snapping pictures through the windshield, bricks, dormers, railings, fences, streets, all are falling thrall to my aim. We could be happy here, I say, putting another roll of lm in and beginning to nose my car toward Bill Corsons house. Really, Daddy, my daughter says; No chance,

my wife tacks on, but all Im hearing is the crack of bats in the neighborhood lot and the drone of bees around honeysuckle and Dewey Waughs gravelly voice urging on his mower, and the sound of wind in the cottonwoods is like water, I am coasting, there is time for everything.

Nocturne: Roller Mills Flea Market

nicole cooley
Lewisburg, Pennsylvania

Night unwinds like a spool of thread. I am trying to call this new place Home and walking down each dark aisle, table after table stacked with the past where I never lived: ruby tumblers the color of blood, an egg scale, lamp made of milk glass. The sampler reads: Be it ever so humble, Theres no place like home, and I never understood till now how a plates edge could reveal a landscape, how an oak desk can carry me back to a schoolhouse Ive never seen, how I use this room to speak with the dead. I want to lie down on the rope bed, under the quilt

pieced by other women Ill never know. Once, they sat in a circle, leaning close, cross-stitching each square to keep their families safe. Another sampler: A house is made of brick and stone. A home is made of love alone. Why do I want that past? I bend over the memory table, chips of china, square beads preserved under glass. Outside moonlight silvers the dark houses of this town. Its the end of the century and the past is a st in the throat and home is nothing but an edge I could fall from.

Cleareld County Fair

ginny m ac kenzie My mother told me never mind the morphodite And stay away from those babies, in those bottles, she called out the screen door. Their abortive faces bulged their jars: some lacked noses, or ears; others had double sets of genitalslabeled For Educational Purposes Only, they were lined up like targets. I stepped back, took imaginary aim. Just that morning

I had scattered starlings from our garden with my BB gun. Shooting galleries, kewpie prizes, Haunted HouseI passed them all. Lit by a red spot light: Mondu the Hermaphrodite loomed, glowering at us as if we were to blame for the half-rouged, half-bearded cheeks,for all this. I closed my eyes, thought of that other display, what theydve been like grown up. Then suddenly it was over, or nearly: Ladies, the barker hissed, I must ask you to leave. Gentlemen, for another 50 cents, 2 quarters, 5 thin dimes, Mondu will remove this loincloth and reveal to you . . . Back outside, it was chilly, the fairgrounds covered with trash. I headed up the midway toward home, my new Babydoll high-heels sticking in gum, taffy, Crackerjacks.

The Bloomsburg Fair

j o anne growney In September, the Bloomsburg Fair. I escape my scorn for dirt and crowds and hurry there

to taste each scent sausages, funnel cakes, Mongolian barbecue, candied popcorn. Im fascinated by the exhibits. A giant pumpkin three-hundred-forty-ve pounds, not round, more like a bean-bag chair. How did Anna Stolfus make it grow so large? How did she lift it to bring it here? A team of guessers, Myrtle and John, take dollar after dollar from gamblers who suppose they look a different age. Myrtle peers deep into a bettors eyes, then guesses on the nose. Mistaken once. A midlife couple asked the number of their wedded years. Though Myrtle said Eleven, it was One. A missing digit. Two years back, when Mother was seventy-eight, John guessed, Seventy-three. Kind to old folks, Mother said. All night the Midway glows and roars. I pause beside the Scrambler. Now or later Ill give in and pay three dollars for three minutes of excited prayer to escape alive from spinning there.

Whack-A-Moles my favorite game. Quick, quick, beat the clock, beat the other players. Pound the darting plastic varmint win another candy dish. In front of side-show tents, a barker barks his come-on-ins. Why dont my students receive theorems as willingly as passersby accept his lies? Once I paid to see The Smallest Horse in the Universe, declared as Under Twenty Inches High. On a platform beside its ank, I stood with less than twenty inches of horse above my feet. I expected a more-clever fraud. Each year the Bloomsburg Fair celebrates the truth with lies. If parallels will never meet then heres a man with snakes for hair, and theres a woman with three eyes.

Racetrack Downriver
david staudt Tar-heavy at twilight a smooth Susquehanna snags herring gulls out of the dusk; pulls their boats downriver. A heron lays out from the bank, ducking the moon. Downriver in Selinsgrove,

the Friday night modied stocks re up with a moan like a distant tornado, the ash from its popping transformers pinking the bellies of clouds. You can imagine, over there, a warm heaven under eld lights, the midget cars gunning past the french fry stands, skidding through the banked dirt curves. All our old relatives are in from the boondocks, Bill and Helen, Leroy and Viola, rowdy as kids after schools done, slapping and spilling cokes in the stands, while the daredevils punch through their haybales, and buck like colts across the ineld. A cheer bursts like reworks over the bleachers. No ones leaving anytime soon. Alone, miles upriver in the dark, we only hear the moan.

Fishing the Little J. Beneath the Methodist Church

harry humes
For Bruce Weigl and Bob Haas

I stand upstream with the spire and stained glass of the white church over my shoulder as when I was a boy


in that coal town trailing my string through silted-up mine water, thinking of my fathers Sunday morning voice, and my mothers hands crossed in her lap, the sermon ow and choir. Now my white y with wings of mandarin feathers, belly of red fox fur and tail of ginger quill quarters across the current toward the overhang of willows where a trout has been feeding, and then to another in a swirl behind rock, the light growing less, until with the push of current against my legs, my hands cold, I hear a faint music over the water, and for a while I am uncertain of where I am, or for what reason I cast long after dark at splashes as though I were trying to raise the spirit of this place, one sh of such heft that my life would be forever after set in the arc of its power.

The Company We Keep

ron mohring Half-oating, half-sinking, the craysh wobbles in the white plastic dish I yanked from the cupboard and splashed


full of tap water, wobbles intentionless, lifeless. Mindlessly I jiggle the dish, pluck a glob of wet dog hair from its little pointy legs. Nothing helps. For this we waded into the cold Susquehanna, netted ridiculously tiny minnowsall bug eyes and needle tailsand turned over rocks to catch a craysh, two, then three, for the new aquarium. Local shale stacked into little cave hideouts. The minnows, or whatever they were, darted in unison like some nervous organism. The craysh would snatch up their shrimp pellets with tiny pincered feet. Then the largest went missing. What fools we are to kidnap such benign and helpless creatures, cage them in our homes. It died. It ipped out the back of the aquarium, thumped to the carpeted oor. Its beady pushpin eyes surveyed the new terrain: hill of crumpled underwear, marooned ship of an overturned shoe. Ledges of piled books. The craysh hauled its armored body like a slowly zzing spacesuit through the deep dark beneath our bed, through our secret dust and dog hair, tapped its primitive warty claw along the baseboard while we snored above like careless gods, oblivious, unrepentant. Now I poke its unresponsive shell lolling in the shallow water, I almost believe its coming back to lifeand now, at last, too late, I think of all the trapped, forgotten reies, the starved, neglected toads; now I cringe for every rescued baby bird I gagged on force-fed worms,


for the worms themselves, for the fermenting jars of tadpoles oating belly-up on sunny windowsills, the ants, the bugs, the butteries: countless, the small ones weve extinguished, as if we could have been companions, as if we were other than human, could ever set aside our sorry need for dominion.

Worlds End
barbara crooker Wind-hush through the beeches and hemlocks, wind-rush down the mountains, through the bare trees. Water-music of the Loyalsock, green ice shelved along its edges. We are chinked-up tight in a small log cabin, roar of wood-breath in the cast-iron stove. At the pine table, my husband peels an orange, and sweet citrus enters the room, the sun coming out to play. No deer. No rabbits. A cold that could nail bones. We are down to what really matters, keeping warm, staying alive. My son saws endless lengths of wood. We work to keep the re going, play Monopoly, Uno, Chinese Checkers. Mugs of hot chocolate. Sausage and cheese, sharp mustard. Wedges of apple. Chunks of the forest go up in ame. Just before bed, we walk single le down the hill to the washhouse, our visible breath, scarf-lengths, trails out behind. This is as dark as it gets on this planet, as if the book of the night has just been written, and were standing here open-mouthed, reading the white-hot star-spelled stories as if for the rst time.


Winter Walks, Perry County

susan weaver

white elds black trees against blank sky such red fence posts oak trees at elds edge last leaves rustle chimes in February wind

cornstalks march toward azure hills snagged in barbed wire fence setting sun found: one corncob in exchange footprints in the snow against amethyst sky chimney smoke beckons nattering of nches lighted window Holsteins knobby poll the hum of milking

It Isnt Raining
cynthia hogue On her porch, the woman shakes her umbrella twice as if

at the fevered man walking by on his way to give his daily sermon in the town square. Shes left the blueand-lilied umbrella all over town, like a crutch she couldnt use. The man preaches in an elegantlylined raincoat, summers and winters, his nose red in February, purple by March. He brings news to the ignorant, the blind or fearless, of the coming conagration, then hitches home with his brown bag full of still-to-be-saved souls. Not unlike the mans, the womans words bud cryptogramsaromatic code to quell need. The sky is a door she can open.

Pleasure Gap
bruce bond The reworks over Pleasure Gap beat the black drum of the south, and boys look up into the face of the falling order. Neighbors wander out of cop shows into the dark

parking lot: watching. Strangers mostly, they stand in vague gatherings: the man who sleeps there lifts his thermos so far and does not drink. People pause on the descending sighs, half-meant, just this side of their own esh: to see the rockets split apart like that, crumpling into their light, lling up the lungs of August, its all the streets can do to resist. Joy pounds the tenement doors. The lady upstairs we know by the sound of her parrot, her keys, the bad radio, she too has come out down three ights into the street. You can see her holding her robe shut. Under the hotel sign, blue and ashing.

Aunt Lena Committed to Bellefonte State Hospital

ginny m ac kenzie Because hed heard menopause was hard he forgave her the unmade beds, the cold meals what he couldnt accept was the way she looked: the slip all yanked down below her dress, the hair pasted with grease and sweat to her neck like wet crepe paper. The hospital would have to come and take her. In those days, in those small towns, what else could you do with a wife like thisa good wife and mother falling into the things around her. No matter what, it does matter what people say and their breath lled with accusations . . . That was all thirty years ago now. I dont know any more of the story, theyre all dead or gone away, or why it matters to me, why I lie awake nights sometimes thinking about it, imagining Lena still alive somehow, though delirious, senile by now. I see her there. I visit her there: I sit across from her and watch her scrawling a crayon over some scratch paper, which she asks me to slip out the window as if there were someone down there, waiting for a message. Sometimes I try to read them. Here and there I make out what seem to be words: blouse or searchlight . . . Sometimes in the morning I wake up from a dream of her and start to worry the things in my house are like hers were back then,


when her bad time camea sinkful of dishes, the laundry hamper spilled down the stairs . . . Or Ill hear someone at the door: only the delivery boy probably, wanting his money, saving up to go to college. Theres just no future, he says, in these small towns. Theres a place for everything but you cant nd it in its place. Hes out the door before I can say yes, yes, I agree.

Running through Danville State Hospital

michael hardin The road wends between the sweep and roll of grass, each blade sliced to obsession. The lawn afrms order like the patterns of iron bars, the rank and le of windows on each hall. A black domestic hare nibbles at clover, unaware that winter bites at the end of fall. The midpoint of my run, a faade, a Victorian tower draws patient and visitor alike. The benches, new-painted red, promise the sun, but the men with crooked heads wait each day for no one. For me, theyre my apogee in late afternoon, the rst rey has not yet thought to burn. When patience


dies, razor wire restrains desire, holds fast all impulse. A graying man shufes by and waves, one eye tracks me, the other ambles along the fading yellow slashed into the asphalt. A pack of cigarettes is dragged deep by three men, pushed out of their cells; too familiar with irony, they interpret the dip in my glance, the desperation of my stride, wager my Paxil will fail, this running loop will tighten, pulling me close to the door.

Laid Off in July

matthew perakovich The mutts faded up and found the death-stench on the hill, brought the matted bones down for fetch. It is all we can do to keep them off the porch. In the wake of this heat: two dead at the shoe factory, ballooning fruit and gas prices, well gone dry, paper plates, plastic forks and spoons. We gather here to swat ies. All the boiled, swerving dust inhabits our hair, creases, teeth. We scrape on, taking beer from big brown bottles, outliving desperation and waiting for the wind-


fall of the moon to bury another day.

Awl Street
jerry wemple I worked the poorer districts. The bastards up the hillwith big lawns And big houseswouldnt take a thing. Down in the Front Street river mansions The old widow women halftimes didnt Bother to come to the door. I learned to work the neighborhoods Where the view was the side brick wall Of Phelps Auto Supply, and bent backyard Fences held nothing much of nothing. The poor respect the poor. Then again, Enjoy imagining someone just a little worse off. Down Awl Street they took it all: Occasion cards from sympathy to birthday, September Christmas orders for October delivery (Printed with choice of greeting and the name The way you specify.) I pitched The Grit once, But quit because the premiums werent enough. I got my rewards: Cassette deck When they rst came out, a silver Spider bike with a three-speed gearshift

And a sissy bar. But you had to do it right. Act polite, almost shy, especially when collecting. And theyd act mock-polite right back. Fake serious and business-like with a boy. On some Saturdays I could hear the woman, When she turned to whisper, Henry, Gimme money to pay the colored kid. Two Washingtons for a good sale. A Lincoln if the sister was over visiting And took an order, too. God, I loved those folks.

Harrisburg Echoes (Excerpts)

robert small Old single men eat at the Alva, remember riverboats to the island, 1938 big band afternoons, the Marge Calloway Band (Cabs sister), Kay Kaiser and his College of Musical Knowledge, and the others whose music is little noted, like my father, who might have gone further if if not Single old men remember the war years, the boom, years, the boom, boom years, the boom, boom, boom years. It was important to be Harrisburg then. Less important than Washington, but better than the lonely town of Lancaster, the English name of York, the hard scrabble


cold and coal Scranton, the barren hills of Wilkes Barre, even the unscented sinning city to the east by the Delaware. Old single men remember John Harris and the naming, remember the years before the after, when it was better to take a train with a soaked bag of Harrisburg memories than to walk the homeless streets, better to sit and smoke and have one short schnapps shot on the train than to walk the useless streets, with snow the only home, the hand only a memory.

Nights Like This

julia kasdorf Bakers at Stroehmanns release the scent of bread onto route 83 at Paxton Street. Search lights from an East Shore used car lot probe the sky for clients and signs. A wife in Steelton reads a paperback romance by a street light strained through her bedrooms sheers. A man who stands in the prison yard on ne days sits on his bed, imagining stars. I walk the safe, treeshadowed streets of Camp Hill Borough spooked by the pale blue TV glow of family rooms. And the long-distance trucker coming off Reesers Summit croons with wkbo (the music of your life) Blue moon, you saw me standing alone. Moon, you saw me blue.


Three Mile Island Siren

jack veasey In Hummelstown, ten minutes from the power plant now known for the near disaster, theyve installed a warning siren: one horn on a tall pole that turns when turned on, like the blades of that TV News copter. Its shriek reminds me of the fties, when I was too young to understand the air raid sirens Ive since read about. That sound, so they told us at rst, means a meltdown or something; at any rate, a warning that, unpacked or no, wed better run like hell. The rst time it went off some did just that, in terror, scurrying like squirrels. Then it was claried, belatedly, that daily tests at noon were necessary. And furthermore, the siren would cry re, the way most sirens do these days. The way you can tell what the scream means is how the notes held: if its not a high note, if it wavers and wails less than 15 minutes, then it merely means

some neighbors house is burning; good news by comparison. Oh, perhaps youll sense some gap between held breaths, a mystics moment in midair, before the sound makes clear its meaning, but such things you learn to live with. The damage, actual and only damage, poisoned only Unit Two, a fever sealed within lead walls; so they say the N.R.C. PR men. And here and now, in Hummelstown, where everyone has always been a neighbor, theres no fallout, just a feeling . . . when someones charred, smoldering grief makes us sigh with relief.

Dream City
barbara d e cesare Dream of donuts, as Olympic rings before you, of Wal*Mart, of Harley, of barbells, of pretzels, this night, all nights, beneath the humming streetlights stretched between the ne hotel on Market and Pinchot Park.

York, snug in your trailer or cradled in the Heritage Hills, dream that youll move on some day, that diabetes is curable, that let and left mean exactly what you want them to mean, that the race riots are over, that the judge is impartial, that the plant will stay open, that the city is not your problem. Dream, sweet York, beneath the hum of the Daily Record presses, its morning obituaries and sheriff sale notices fuel the day, the rest, why bother? Why ruin a lovely morning when you wake from the dream to the faint smell of the paper plant and donuts like Olympic rings before you, to a trip to Wal*Mart, a job at Harley, a drive past the ne hotel, and, on Queen Street, when you see the open hand land hard on some Lillie Belle, to say its not your problem, in fact, its just a dream.


Twelve Facts about the Immigrants: A Prose Poem

carmine sarracino
Brought over by Milton Hershey, many Italian immigrants expert stone workershelped build the town.

They were not Italiani, but rather Calabresi, Siciliani, Napolitani, Abruzzesi and would remain so until they died in places like Hershey, Pennsylvania. They thought that Italia was the name of the King of Piedmonts daughter. They did not believe that theyd nd the streets of America full of money, but enjoyed saying so to those staying behind. The men knew how to cut stone, how to lay bricks, how to sh, how to coax fruits and vegetables from rocky soil, how to strike fear into the hearts of oppressors. The women knew how to cook, how to keep house, how to raise children, how to coax fruits and vegetables from rocky soil, how to strike fear into the hearts of husbands. Their name for Ellis Island was Lisola di lacrime, The island of tears. They began life in the new world shunted through chutes from holding pens to processing stations on the modern model of efciently slaughtering livestock. Their coats were pinned with tags, they were given papers, asked for the papers, the papers were stamped, they were asked for the stamped papers, the stamped papers were exchanged for new papers, they were asked for the new papers, the new papers were stamped and the tags on their coats were exchanged for new tags.

Some with bad eyesight, pinkeye, or glaucoma were chalked with an X and shunted to a pen to be shipped back. Others, bafed by the question Are you an anarchist? went with the more agreeable answer, and then wondered why they were marked with an X and shunted to a pen with the blind. They believed with all their hearts in the pursuit of happiness, and had pursued it all the way to this maze of chutes. On the boats with kerchiefs around their faces and caps with the earaps pulled down waving tiny American ags and smiling with slightly bewildered eyes, they all looked just like children.

Acoustic Shadows
bruce bond
From only a few miles away, a battle sometimes made no sound, despite the ash and smoke of cannon and the fact that more distant observers could hear it clearly

As Lee pushed North and the dead ew out of the elds in thick ocks over Pennsylvania, the rst, strange reports went up over the wire: from the medical tents on Wilsons Hill, people could see the cannons driving their nails of light into the boarded house of the Union and hear none of it. Who would have believed things would go this far,

this long, the indestructible world their intimate stranger? For the Union soldier bound up in what he saw, high in the near silence, history was out there beating its wings against the glass. He would not move for the sight of it and cupped his bowl of boiled coffee, watching. All night men returned through the wild orchard, their hands trembling like paper. The wounded lay out on blankets in rows, sleepless under the clear sky, and the nails of remembered light pinned them to their bodies.

samuel hazo In Iron where their horses reared and neighed, the mounted generals survey like scouts long rows of rusting cannon wheeled abreast and aims at Appalachian elds scarecrowed with sculptured infantry in statuesque attack below the ridge of Picketts rout. Necklaced with Kodaks and binoculars, June tourists range beyond the battlements to search for ricochets in trunks of trees


or photograph old barns with shrapnel scars, the pledge of Lincoln on a plaque of brass and graves that hold the bones of regiments. Cold iron and the quarried stone rehearse past carnage in a frieze of history. Hard replicas replace buried boys who shook no st against the universe. They charged the barricades and were destroyed where tourists grimly talk photography.

The Battleeld Museum Guide Speaks

carmine sarracino

Here they come in minivans, SUVs, Honda Accords converging on this town from north and south. Just like those thirsty, dust-choked troops, marching, staggering . . . booted, barefoot . . . sunstroked . . . on the Carlisle Pike, the Taneytown Road . . . jammed with caissons, cavalry, ambulances, beeves on the hoof. Banners snapped in the wind. Riders pulled up shouting, pointing. Drovers cursed and cracked their blacksnakes, the wagons heaped with ammunition, rations, dog tents, stoves, kettles, pans, entrenching tools, and with stacks and stacks and not nearly enough pine boxes. Before the lines could even form surgeons rushed setting up tables.



What myth what delusion draws them to Little Roundtop Devils Den, Cemetery Ridge? What do they imagine happened here? (Now I see Whitman wrote, war is just butchery! The glistening weaponstools for slaughter!) Dont they know that? Or is there still a truth that draws?

See the Rotarian in baseball cap and oldguy shorts, how his shoulders hunch around the place in his chest, scarred still, aching still since the morning his daughter, just nine, was diagnosed. How he cared for her giving every pill in proper order at 2 a.m. . . . at 5 a.m. . . . petting her hair, touching a small sponge to her cracked lips. Intently he aims his camera at the spot Chamberlain and remnants of the 20th Maine bleeding, outnumbered, out of ammunition refused to give up. Facing odds as impossible as surviving leukemia in 1960. As impossible as surviving the death of ones child. He snaps a picture of where they xed bayonets and chargedby God!charged!

So they come, bumper to bumper. The young for what they suspect. The old for what they know.



And you, reader? Havent you been marched toward what you could not bear? Didnt you fear you might run? Did you run? Havent you carried a comrade hanging on your neck? Does the cold ache your scars? You know, then, dont you what hallows this ground? And why they come.

I have arranged the exhibits. Polished the glass. I unlock the doors, and open them wide. For you?


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v. southwestern pennsylvania: the three rivers region and the laurel highlands

Lines Written in a Pittsburgh Skyscraper

diane ackerman It has taken me three years to come to this view. I know that the body is a river, whose bones and muscles and organs are owing. I have watched their shapes in the molded Allegheny, contained and onrushing, below bridge after bridge vertebra to the Ohio, a brown river that still powers the mind, lying long in the trestle arms of this city whose sentence is hard labor. Eye level atop a church across the street, St. Benedict the Moor stands open armed and giant, his back turned to the fuming of a ghetto where some evenings the brightest vision is the ash of a streetlamp on a joggers white Nikes. At night, the red sirens spinning mute across the river converge like pulsars at some accident or crime. An hour later, one pulls off, hovers at a distance. All is gesture and sign.


My students are the children of coal miners, who watch the ground swallow their fathers each day, sometimes even digesting the trapped men, turning their bones back into lime, into coal. It is the oldest fear: that Earth may recall you. Along the top of Mount Washington lies a stole of color unnatural to sky. Twilights blue collar. But the mountains are a shing village: steep, hearty, and solid. At night, the lights and stars from my window make the cityscape an Ethiopian bride. As cars bolt around a curve of streetlamps, their shadows ash from under them like sprung souls. And the river churning its wet whispery thighs, the river pouring blood dark under the bridges, in the river I nd my astonished limbs and all the stateless gels within me, carnal, mute, wholly owing, unburdened toward a distant shore.

deirdre oconnor One of his dreams has him riding the streetcar through downtown Pittsburgh. Its an accident, a mistake, the sky dark with soot, the

mills alive, the passengers suddenly noteworthy because theyre undead and they have appeared to pay him no mind all these years as his familiars, kept in some crevice of the brain in dirty workshirts, cloth coats. His mother will be expecting him. But rst the dream will permit a doe to emerge from the cobblestone alley the tracks intersect, the weedy corner of yellow brick inside which he pictures typewriters clicking. Bells at the end of each line are ringing brightly as exclamations no one shouts at the sight of the doe, but which are inside himLook! Look! Like some of the larger accidents of his heart, if they could nd him.

Listening to Jimmy Garrison (Pittsburgh, Pa.)

sonia sanchez Who you be remembering lil jimmy garrison? do you be hearing Coltrane creaking with the wind while your music spills our birth? What you be crying sweet / playing / jimmy as your hands caress those strings until we drop all secret smells. hey. hey yyyy hey yyyyy jimmy garrison maaan What you be thinking on this pittsburgh night Where pain swears above the city and we lean back. and listen. and remember.

forget you. and remember. smile at you and remember. and looooove . . .

The Dancing
gerald stern In all these rotten shops, in all this broken furniture and wrinkled ties and baseball trophies and coffee pots I have never seen a post-war Philco with the automatic eye nor heard Ravels Bolero the way I did in 1945 in that tiny living room on Beechwood Boulevard, nor danced as I did then, my knives all ashing, my hair all streaming, my mother red with laughter, my father cupping his left hand under his armpit, doing the dance of old Ukraine, the sound of his skin half drum, half fart, the world at last a meadow, the three of us whirling and singing, the three of us screaming and falling, as if we were dying, as if we could never stopin 1945 in Pittsburgh, beautiful lthy Pittsburgh, home of the evil Mellons, 5,000 miles away from the other dancingin Poland and Germany of God of mercy, oh wild God.


Integration (Kennywood Park, June 1963)

daniel j. wideman The architect of the Thunderbird, worlds fastest wooden roller coaster, was a contractor who took Pittsburgh for cartograph: vaulting hills and Black Bottoms, the track a study in civic mimicry. Exaggerated angles, unlikely physics, a monument to the suspension of gravity and lesser laws. We know, but never tell the barker as he cleaves the line by color and herds us to the rear: the best seat on this train is the caboose. From the last car, the ride is longer, wheels like knuckles clacking up the Thunderbirds maple spine. Each lurch runs right through bones no Holy Ghost ravishing, not just another Sunday. The back seat still black territory anywhere the races ride together, so we hoard Kennywoods secret tight as sts clenched around purloined collection plate quarters, certain the slightest tremble would trigger a slap, a swift reclamation of tithes. Shrieks of terror drift back as the rst car crests and disappears. Dread as doppelganger, sound dives to silence

like sirens on Saturday night swallowing themselves down Homewood Avenue. At the summit, we crave the plunge into pillow on a third-oor bed. Those nights gripped by ostrich instinct, when feathers served for sand. Emboldened by silent insurrection, vertiginous and sun-addled, Rufus dashes from coasters heights to the depths of the Whites Only pool. Surfaces to nd hes sprouted dorsal n. Pool disgorges sputtering children while his face spreads like spilled oil, reection ballooning on the water like features in the fun house mirror next door. Mistrustful of chlorine, versed in osmosis parents call for sump pumps and police. Sunset spreads shadows across bone, oor of the drained pool reveals words of warning long submerged: WATER LEVEL: 9 FEET while crime tape utters like yellow ribbons on lapels of a wartime crowd. The color, the letters, the measure of a fall.

My Father Likes Pittsburgh

jeffrey oaks Like him, it used to be a heavy smoker and had to quit. All those fumes all those years in closed garages, in the great furnaces. Now theres a black spot in his brain scans, he says.

Not that he knows what it means; what ability or memory might have fallen out of the back of his head. I tell him this is a city of potholes. We just drive around. He likes how many bridges there are, how much water goes under them. Like him, the city is full of expressways and sudden one-way streets, as many ways to get out of town as he had reasons which we never talk about, only stuff under gravy and mashed potatoes, gravy and hot roast beef sandwiches at Dennys, Bob Evans, Kings, Eat n Park. I want to ask him who his heroes were, but end up telling him the propeller from Lindberghs plane came from Pittsburgh, so did the steel for the Brooklyn Bridge, and most of the East Coast railroad lines, which made Andrew Carnegie the richest man of his time, and Pittsburgh legendary as Hell. We drink tea at the Frick Art and Historical Center, near the house of the murderer, as my friend Jen calls Fricks great house Clayton. My father says thats like the house I always wanted us to have one day. Have you ever heard about the Homestead strike? I ask. He says no. But I dont retell it. There is too much familiar in the story. In the carriage house turned caf, we drink cups of English Breakfast, eat scones with clotted cream. Forgive or forget, he says, and pays the check like always. This is a city that believes you wont be saved by love alone. What matters more is to keep on going back to work, to make the money every family says isnt the most important thing. Like most small cities, he doesnt get irony.

Still, he lights up just before Christmas and loves Rolling Rock, Heinz Ketchup, pickles, and the simple directions on the Campbells Soup Cans Warhol made famous. He believes football is better than hockey, which is better than baseball, which is way better than basketball, where no one gets bloodied or strikes out. He reads billboards out loud as we drive down to the Strip District where all the citys best fruits and vegetables lie shining, arranged in pyramids. They remind him of the gardens he made at each new house and then sweated in every Sunday. He bites into green apples big as sts. He remembers when he had John Waynes shoulders, when women like Sharon Stone used to walk up to him and smile. That was thirty years ago maybe, before everything began to fail. Now hes understands why Thelma and Louise drove off that cliff. (Listen, it was easier that way, he says.) Now hes sick of the way he depends on Blue Crosses and Shields, HMOs, primary care physicians and payment schedules. Hes seen the inside of his arterial highways, his intestines, been handed vials and rattled the small stones inside them. Once I thought nothing would kill him. Im sorry I say he didnt get here sooner, to see the old mills, the famous smoke and ames, the lines of men stoking the old monstrous heart of his America. He misses the days when he was the great re we all revolved around, before the eighties when my mother abandoned him nally. I say Frank Lloyd Wright thought Pittsburgh ought to be abandoned and demolished and made over. From an observation deck on Mt. Washington, he takes pictures of the skyscrapers downtown while the light holds out some promise.

I look at his wrinklessomeday mineas he watches a barge far below push down the rivers, rst Iroquois and Delaware, then Dutch, then French, then British, then American. I say he smiles more now. It catches him by surprise the way, driving into the city through the Fort Pitt Tunnel, the skyscrapers appear suddenly, unexpectedly, right at the end of the long, bland Fort Pitt Tunnel, just as the radio starts playing jazz again.

Pittsburgh Poem
jan beatty On Sarah Street on the South Side, the old woman still stands with her broom, imagining the air full of lug and swish from the steelworkers boot, armies of gray lunchbuckets grace her thoughts as she sweeps with the part of her that still believes; sweeps while her sister makes paska and horseradish with red beets, sweeps away the stains of a dead husband and a disappointing daughter. She thinks of the dark well of J & L, how it sifted down to nothing, the mills hole of a mouth that ate full years of her life, nights she pulled her husband from Yarskys bar across the street, him smiling like a bagful of dimes, half a paycheck spent, the whole time soot covering their clothes, the car, the windowsills, like disease, someone elses hands. She holds tight onto the good times, the new green velour couch, Saturday walks to the Markethouse for fresh red cabbage and greens, trips to the Brown & Green store for new T-shirts, South Side windows brimming taffeta and satin on the way to Mass at St. Michaels, when the world was gleaming and available for one glorious day.

Now shadows angle across her print housedress and she holds tight to her broom, hears her sister primping in the kitchen, smells the pea soup with sauerkraut, the homemade mushroom gravy for pierogies, she thinks of the ten years since her husband died, of her daughter who calls on holidays, she stands on her concrete lawn, taking care of something invisible, the listless air, her life.

kristin kovacic On her ninetieth birthday, we found her our tiny Baba, erce, working her sponge at the top of a thirty-foot ladder. We squinted up her dressour sparrow in support hose, ancient girl without her coat, our grandmother. Baba, come down, we cried. Baba! Before you kill yourself! But there were needles in her gutters, and the wind had left its grime, again, on the trim of her house on the slope on Koehler Street, America. She shook her sooty water on our astonishment, on our mothers iced cake like a corpse in its pan, on Pittsburgh far below her. And so my father ascended, and we held the ladder fast, splinters entering our hands like memory, another tale wed tell at her funeralour crazy Croatian baba,

our Hitler of hygiene, our shelter from the ordinary. He coaxed her down in their language, whose rst words he had learned from her, in their soiled country, before the war, before she placed a coin in his immaculate palm and did not return to claim him. Oh Baba kids, she said, nally alighting in her soaked slippers. Oh Baba happy you come see Baba, in the loopy doll voice my brother could imitate to make anything funny. My sister helped her nd her key, and I helped my father destroy the ladder. I couldnt stop laughing. You know, he said, his hatchet making stakes of the rungs, she loves one brick of this house more than any of you.

My Grandfathers Cronies
deirdre oconnor I remember them vaguely, Anthony Canavin, Coleman Connolly, Dudley Molloy, old men wed meet by chance at the bus stop downtown, their noses purpled from age, hands pocketed in their overcoats. Sometimes one pressed a dollar in my mitten and my grandfather handed it back, the giver rolling his blue eyes to heaven

and asking how a dollar would hurt me. They chuckled when my grandfather gave in then fell silent, shy, as if they remembered a dollar meant nothing to kids like me and how when they rst arrived in Pittsburgh they saw gold in the sooty smear of dawn. How their mothers hands trembled, perhaps, over the tea things that last day in Galway and how they wrote, sent money, made do with chipped dishes bought from the Penn Hotel, put a portrait of Kennedy above the TV. How their lives at home were forgotten by all but a few relations and each other, retired hod carriers, bricklayers, steel workers stomping their feet on a cold corner of the New World, spare change jingling in their pockets like stories.

Steelers! Steelers! Steelers!

ann hayes
Super Bowl, January 1975

All hail our household gods! The citys knit Within a screen of lightour fathers sit Rapt in the holy dream. A glee of catches, A melody of calls, it goes in snatches Of struggling men who play against the clock. Against all comers run and pass and block. Aging at thirty, old at thirty-ve, They make their city glad to be alive. All hail, all hail! Our spirits soar again To celebrate the miracle of men Exhausting anger, squandering their pride.

We are the contemplators; theyre outside, And we are inside shoutingpouring beers, Pouring out pain and pleasure with our cheers When on the giant screen an inch appears. Success or failure: here we see it out With almost all the answers. Any doubt Dissolves into the replay, refereed In spite of hope or anguish; fact indeed, And every point decided, all the odds Are paid by us and settled by the gods. Safe in the nal score we leave the set, Discover that the day continues yet. The blissful city honks for happiness, For Ham and Lambert, Greene and Steve Furness, For Swann and Stallworth, Bleier, Greenwood, Toews, For Roy Gerelaits the game he saves Davis and Mullins, Blount and Anderson, Mike Wagner and Mike Webster: everyone, For Shell, for Deloplaine, for Cole, For Winston who was underneath: for Noll, Bradshaw and Harristhey deserve their fame And Cunningham who wasnt in the game, For Banaszak and Brown and Johnson (new), Grossman and White and Colquitt: alls come true And we are breathless happy, gaining all. Its true there was a questionable call And true the spread made losers out of winners: We honk again and drive home to our dinners. Pittsburgh rejoices: children will recall That last onside, when Bleier got the ball, And Noll began to smile. What did he say? We havent peaked yet? Steelers, what a day!


Class A, Salem, the Rookie League

gary fincke We were drinking for free, bumming beers From the past-their-prime by claiming Ourselves Pittsburgh prospects, reballers Whod broken in, last summer, in Salem. Wed gotten a look in Columbus, Three innings each in a courtesy game. Candelaria, we said, taking Rells. What a party he threw When the Pirates called him up that night. We settled for Iron City, draft mugs. It was semester break, sophomore year. In three weeks, pitchers like us were due In Bradenton, Florida, to prove Ourselves for Double or Triple A, And we wouldnt come back to this bar At Easter unless the two of us Were released, disabled, or home For a sudden death in the family. We said my mother was sick, my friend Had a tender arm. We said wed leave Tickets for this tavern if either Of us made Three Rivers, and drank four nights, Underage, with men who supported us Like fathers. They wanted names, whom To expect from Salem in three years, The vets wed met on their falls to sandlots, Factories, or bars like Emericos, Where theyd name, in turn, Al Oliver, Dock Ellis, or the Steve Blass Syndrome, Cite the strange, sad case of his lost control.

We were twenty miles from our old school, Two districts from any fans we knew, But there, one midnight, sat Mrs. Cook, Giving us her speech-class, critical look. She could have offered slower, louder, Breath control. She could have recited A roll call of our grade-book names, summoned Us to the front of a st-lled room With the forensic demand for truth. Glazed-green, the bars surface suggested Sea stories where the careless drown In a tangle of cramps. We carried A beer to her booth like homework; One of the men who loved baseball Slid in beside her. From the Pirates, We said, trying to enunciate Like athletes, setting our last story Deep as we could in the farm system.

daniel j. wideman
(For my great-grandfather Hannibal Harry Wideman)

Many summers, short of spackle, your credit tapped at Shadyside Hardware, you shingled houses with spit and honey, a good mans promise to return before the rst heavy rain.

Handyman, bar-back, street sweeper anything to keep free of the mills, where the ve oclock foghorn calls like Big House dinner bell. Hunger awakened, kitchen scraps still hours away. From Homewood rooftops, between hammer blows, you could see black smoke purling from the stacks at U.S. Steel. Iron laments falling to water, the Allegheny gritty as pot liquor. Each workday ends when Dagos and Polacks pour from factories into their assigned pubs in search of cheap beer to drown the tungsten taste on their tongues. You watch the mills belch up minstrels. A tribe of white men in blackface, stained by furnace tar. You quit with the carpenters dark knowledge. They are more than a dropped gerund from feathers and re, more than a few miles north of knowing machete, cane knife, the cock of a Colt; all the afterlives of steel.


Closed Mill
maggie anderson Im not going to tell you everything, like where I live and who I live with. There are those for whom this would be important, and once perhaps it was to me, but Ive walked through too many lives this year, different from my own, for a thing like that to matter much. All you need to know is that one rainy April afternoon, exhausted from teaching six classes of junior high school students, I sat in my car at the top of a steep hill in McKeesport, Pennsylvania, and stared for a long time at the closed mill. Death to Privilege, said Andrew Carnegie, and then he opened up some libraries, so that he might repay his deep debt, so that light might shine on Pittsburghs poor and on the workers in the McKeesport Mill. The huge scrap metal piles below me pull light through the fog on the river and take it in to rust in the rain. Many of the children I taught today were hungry. The strong men who are their fathers hang out in the bar across the street from the locked gates of the mill, just as if they were still laborers with lunch pails, released weary and dirty at the shift change. Suppose you were one of them? Suppose, after twenty or thirty years, you had no place to go all day

and earned no sleep to sink down into? Most likely you would be there too, drinking one beer after another, talking politics with the bartender, and at the end of the day youd go home, just as if you had a paycheck, your body singing with the pull and heave of the imagined machinery and heat. Youd talk mean to your wife who would talk mean back, your kids growing impatient and arbitrary, way out of line. Whos to say you would not become your fathers image, the way any of us assumes accidental gestures, the tilt of the head, hard labor, or the back of his hand. From here the twisted lines of wire make intricate cross-hatchings against the sky, gray above the dark razed mills red pipe and yellow coals, silver coils of metal heaped up and abandoned. Wall by wall, they are tearing this structure down. Probably we are not going to say too much about it, having as we do this beautiful reserve, like roses. Ill say that those kids were hungry. I would not dare to say the mill wont open up again, as the men believe. You will believe whatever you want to. Once, philanthropy swept across our dying cities like industrial smoke, and we took everything it left and we were grateful, for art and books, for work when we could get it. Any minute now, the big doors buried under scrap piles and the slag along this river

might just bang open and let us back inside the steamy furnace that swallows us and spits us out like food, or heat that keeps us warm and quiet inside our little cars in the rain.

One of Many Bars in Ford City, Pennsylvania

peter oresick Some call this home because they go to Pittsburgh and leave Pittsburgh saying Pittsburgh makes them nervous. It is the speed of the line today for Kijowski, Valasek, and Dietz gulping beer like air. For the melancholic three stools down it is leaky gutters, and the grim acceptance of a fast line next shift. It is no guarantee of a line next year. Its home because Wolsonovich had a heart attack a week ago Tuesday, and the man working down from you now youve hated since high school. For Gods sake, lets sit on these stools and tell sad stories of the deaths of common men.

judith vollmer Before, I spoke of clear things, shadows on white tile, men in paper suits mopping the radiated water with Kotex pads trucked in through the security dock, 1960. Now I see blurry grasses swaying in dusk, the starless sky & vaporous shapes of a Pennsylvania town behind wire fences, there in the misty place beyond the woods. I hear a truck sputtering with cheap gas, & boot soles slapping cement. Is that my Uncle Ray running toward the truck, away? No, hes inside with his men cleaning the burning place protecting the core. Dawn is a swollen eye they work toward. Those must be cattails waving over the marshland, those must be geese making that slapping leather sound of ight.

Listening to Birds after a Mild Winter

judith vollmer I dont even know where they were or if they went far where they slept but I think they must be wildly happy squinting in the brightness even though all winter my neighbors stuffed their tall fat feeders with blobs of suet big enough for wild dogs I dont think they dream in color or even see it: dont they follow shadows & charcoal slashes Dont they ride windgliders over bushes Heres some moldy straw Heres human hair on an open window sill

plus worms are coming up to aerate a little Who knows a couple thousand night crawlers might arrive in a gardeners truck or slide off a boat down by the river, off hooks, half-eaten or maybe regenerating after shes chomped them half-off they might end up here only to be snatched by the lousy crows barreling up from the park like intuition Jays & cardinals are coming out of their REM sleep too The crow on the storm drains screaming Get to work the whole skys barking Just because they didnt freeze on icy twigs or get knocked over by blizzards & drifts, theyre excited

Audubons Nature Preserve, Fox Chapel

sharon f. m c dermott The sun has left its earth upon your face, your eyes so green, they leave me in the wilderness where I rst found you, arms wrapped around a black oak tree. Geese rumble down the dirt away, youre after feathers for a dream circle, round birch empty, round with blue sky on mornings when I wake in the circle of your arms. Love is a tendering of souls and a leap into a lake of glass, dangers on the shoals, dangers in the depths, but I am wet with it, up to my thighs in it, up to my nose in it and no snapping turtle, bull

frog, goose, or antlered stag will turn me back from the kiss above the pines, sweet moldering in brush grasses, your face above ironweed and vetch as you pluck raspberries from stickered brambles to pour into my mouth. Five oclock light torches timothy to candles. Deer and wild turkey venture out, elds pass golden into shadow and a poem appears in the goldenrod: short, laden, full of pears. I love you more than I have loved any man and the meadows are mad with August. When you leave, the sure promise is that summer will escape, leak its sunlight into leaves of the deciduous trees until they ame. Geese will call to one another, refuse the cooling pond, take ight. The dragonies mating will cease, their translucent wings, forget. The moon, thin as a sh hook, will cast about in a hollow sky.

lynn emanuel This is not Turners Venice not all the light is let loose across the canals, the low clefts of little waves. This is Pittsburgh where the air is sulphurous and the water landlocked, slowed by waste and those small iron bridges. But even here we have discovered desire, like Columbus who was looking for the end of the world and stumbled on continents.

Night, on the lawn supple constellations of light. We are sitting in the yard and I, too, am hoping for the end of something, or the world, maybe, that great still perfect lip and those little boats going off; I am hoping that tonight is movement we have only mistaken for stillness. But it is August and this is Pittsburgh the most familiar place in the world calm water, boats, channels and beautiful, too, those little bridges leading back and forth across the river. Here in our own back yard we can nd the rare acres of stars, the thin wind abating in the huge green hesitations of the trees.

Panther Hollow Bridge, Pittsburgh

jim daniels Cinder blocks smashed in the Hollow. Hollow attempt to mend. Mend what we once. Once I held you, and chaos was enough. Enough. Imagine the best dream. Dreams laced with chemicals and cynicism. Wait. Meet me halfway across the bridge. Grasp the suicide fence with me and together well make a wish. The pond below clouded with angry spittle. A homeless mans two dogs lap at the edges but he does not drink himself.

A lot to see from up here. Well, its only up if you stand in the hollow. Where are you now and what is your last name, Barbara Jane? You live in my hollow. Twenty years. Cinder blocks from somebodys unnished project. They have to drop a long way to break. Air pockets strengthen them. And so, I imagine you there, safe. We were the two dogs of a homeless man. When there was not enough, we turned on each other. If you really wanted to jump the fence, you could. Thats what worries me. I push a leaf through the mesh. It drifts in a graceful dance. A polite leaf. We cant slow down, but we can speed up. I imagine cinder blocks exploding. A police car stops to ask if Im okay. Im not a jumper, I say immediately. Im clean, I add, though they are already pulling away. August. A few leaves turning, getting an early start. Sun through twilight haze. Downtown in the distance. Are you okay? My voice carries far into the hollow. If you are out there, please write. The moon is worried. It will not be full without you. That would be the place to end, if it were true. A train lumbers down the tracks, taking its time. No stopping it. A long whistle

warning. Not a moan, like some people say. More aggressive, deant. Im not counting cars.

Mysteries of Pittsburgh
toi derricotte What is the mystery in this restaurants Mystery Sandwich on a Saturday afternoon on a nearly spring day, forsythias long yellow laying over on its side, combing the sunshine until the closed umbrella buds pop? What is the mystery that opens the way for you to turn right or left out of any driveway and end up, always, at the place you where heading? The roof you once wanted to leap from, is now a patch of land, a roof garden that some woman, inch by inch, sneaked up in her purse.

In Her Mind, Shes Already Quit

leslie anne mcilroy Shes an hour away from a Greyhound. The Friday sh was 86d at 7:00, the cigarette machines busted, and shes in a raw full-moon mood. Here, she says, landing a tray of Immort Ales and Arrogant Bastard Stouts on the table, the sticky beer circles reminding her of the ypaper out back. Ashtrays full. Chips and change scattered. No, you cant run a tab. Its two eighty-ve each. (Dont tell me to keep the change from your lousy three bucks. Better yet, dont pay separately. Someone belly up to the round and then tip. Tip big.) Cheap bastards, she thinks as she counts out nickels and dimes. Here comes Louie. Shes just about done with his feel-good pie facehow he proposes with a band made from a dollar bill. Poor drunk fuck. She knows he must be someones kid, but even that doesnt make her sorry. She watches Gary give him last call an hour before last call. Its not her heart thats broken its her back, the way she wears her apron like an anchor, change weighing her body down; how she lls the condiment bottles just short of full. And when some cute boy says shes looking good, she blows past. Thirty-six seems old for this kind of thing. She wears lipstick just the same. Lighting another and yawning, she drains too-sweet orange drink from an oversized glass

ice rattling as she totals checks on a pad of carbon-copy chits. In her mind, shes already quit. Only a few tables left. Not long before she and Gary will be alone in the dark with the neon beer signs glowing on a hard-want night. The bar smooth and clean with stools crowning the edges, upside down in the dark. They might have two. They might have three. They will be stiff. Stiff enough to make the short drive home tricky. Straight shot down Forbes, one eye closed. Fingers crossed. No cops. Enough cash to make rent. At home she turns the TV onNick at Night, Donna Reed opens a bag of Lime Tostitos. She pets the cat, lights one more, counts her cash, closes her eyes. Mornings already here, tomorrow already started.

Miracle Mile
ed ochester
For Gerald Stern

Why weep? I am going to drive past Elbys Big Boy and back, I am going to park beneath the statue of Big Boy with his checkered pants

and his greasy cowlick like Reagans, I am going to admire his rosy cheeks rounded as buttocks, and walk in to order the minced veal parmesan. I am going to eat garlic bread until the rich oil runs down my jowls and wipe my hands on dozens of paper napkins insubstantial as dreams. I am going to think Caf Brulot as I drink a Coke and tip ten percent. I am going to drive past Cappelmans Discount Clothes whistling Vivaldi and honk at the girls. I am going to circle Our Lady of Perpetual Misery lit by oodlights and the crowd queuing up at the Red Lobster to gobble Surf n Turf and drive past what may be a rapist humble as Uriah Heap leaning against a Honda in the outer dark of the parking lot at Sears. I am going to walk into the Monroeville Mall where George Romero shot Night of the Living Dead and admire the heavy ironware in Hornes, the electric woks and the microwaves, the Dazey food strippers, the juice extractors with automatic pulp ejectors, the Wear-ever popcorn poppers, toaster ovens without end and the kids walking the Walkman around the Mall in paseo and shoplifting small goods a bra transparent as our prayers or palming packs of rubbers with the couple on the package silhouetted by the setting sun. I am going to admire the toucan in the Malls aviary, his beak the shape of a giant Brazil nut, and be tted for Harris tweed at Hughes & Hatcher, where the cretinous salesmen

bob and slaver over my big roll of bills. Im going to chuckle at the basset hound smoking a pipe in the Hushpuppy display she looks like a friendand I am going to buy chocolate pretzels at the Bavarian Haus. I am going to drive past the Sheraton more beautiful than any building in Japan. I am going to follow the rumble and stink of the garbage trucks into dawn and think Camus, how he said he knew with a certainty that our work is nothing but the long journey to recover through the detours of art the two or three simple great images which rst gained access to our hearts.

Buddy Picture
charles clifton Look, if I rattle the keys you come too, the less said the better. We dont need words, We know each others heart. To heart. Ill roll down the window and let her rip. Go ahead, stick your nose way out, let the wind comb your long hair, get a whiff of the world sailing by at 70 miles per. Well never be younger. Maybe Ill sing

and youll listen for the meaning in my voice Get along home, Cindy Cindy Ill marry you some day. That was his old mule and youre my good pal, lusty ones, the two of us, leaning out the windows to lap up that country air, nipping at the heels of the future as it ashes in the sunlight off the cars & trucks ahead of us, cruising down the highway toward a little town called Freedom, PA.

Leaving Pittsburgh
kristin kovacic Theres no way to do it honestly, leave this landscape like a mothers lap, her green thighs take you down daily into the city. You are trembling with your deception, how to say it. Pittsburgh is Limbo, our friend is fond of confessing, the sky a perpetual grey, suggesting neither light nor dark, but object, a ceiling you could dangle a bulb from in the room of your earliest memory. Its still here, that room, though other people circle the carpet and sleep in the bed,

it is here, holding you. Here, we hold. Here, we stay on. One car counterbalances the other on the funicular railways of Pittsburgh, a hypnotic loop of faith, neither coming nor going, like my grandparents driving to the airport evenings he to watch the takeoffs and the landings, she to witness the perpetual embrace of departure and arrival. When you leave they will come, every feeling you ever trusted will come, condent of your return to the grey city that is your mother, that is your heart between beatings, that is our time on earth together.

maggie anderson Driving through the Monongahela Valley in winter is like driving through the gray matter of someone not too bright but conscientious, a hard-working undergraduate who barely passes. Everybody knows how hard he tries. Im driving up into gray mountains and there, it may be snowing gray, little ecks like pigeon feathers, or what used to sift down onto the now abandoned slag piles,

like what seems to sift across the faces of the jobless in the gray afternoons. At Johnstown I stop, look down the straight line of the Incline, closed for repairs, to the gray heart of the steel mills with For Sale signs on them. Behind me, is the last street of disease-free Dutch elms in America, below me, a city rebuilt three times after ood. Gray is a lesson in the poise of afiction. Disaster by disaster, we learn insouciance, begin to wear colors bright as the red and yellow sashes on elephants, whose gray hides cover, like this sky, an enormity none of us can fathom, though we try.

Imagining the Johnstown Flood

jerry wemple
After the W. A. Rodgers illustration from Harpers Weekly

One hundred years later, the picture seems so overdone. The sepia-toned womanempty arms outstretched like Longfellows Evangeline grasping for Gabrielreaches toward her bearded husband, child in a dressing gown. The tattered family clinging to a cracked roof. The stuff of melodrama. Giant splinters of trees, houses, furnishings,

wagons, a perambulator. A face of one already passed, looking up from beneath and beyond. And everywhere the water. Waves. Rain. Surges. Surges. Surges. Yet look closer. Bring your eyes down from the steep cliffs that still line the Conemaugh Valley, away from the 20 million tons of torrent sweeping south from the broken dam. Come away from the twin church steeples, all thats left of the Lords place. Come back to her. Someone younger than you are now. With ten short ngers and two vacant eyes.

Flash Flood
w. d. snodgrass The worst is over; the people are all glad to show you where it passed, scattering paving bricks like handbills, elbowed STOP signs into respectful

attitudes, then lched the smug porch off a house. They lead you to a black hole where it broke straight through one block wall of a basement, then as if appalled by something found in there, broke back out through the opposite wall. They will recite the history of its progress: its small beginnings in the hills; down what gullies it had gathered mud and power, gathered rocks, stumps, dead trees; gathering body parts and boulders, engines, armchairs, train wheels, gathering down into the town. They argue over who rst spotted it, bubbling out of sewers; recognized its stench; who heard it, angering back of the welding shops and car barns, rioting down their stunned streets, irresistibly splintering the goods they had used their lives collecting. For years of skimping, hard work, jockeying for position; for all their small, reluctant, timorous swindlings; for their dedicationthis is their reward. They talk about it with such pride, youd think it was their own. Think back how the orderlies danced while bombs crazed their bunker and the Third Reich died. Think of the Thirtiesof all those who saw their lives totter and falter and go under, nally; then began to live. Who

would not like to kick some pretty girl? The remen clump around in their boots, now, on one of the porches, talking to the young Italian, loud who owns it, whom everybody watches; he has achieved, at last, celebrity of a kind his kitchen departed like an excursion steamer; he clutches his shirtfront like some short-legged Oedipus and seems, for once, one with his destiny. Meantime, his neighbors who have not, these many months, found time to address each other saunter about with coffee and extra bedding; surprised as refugees, they may shake hands; or will walk together, like prisoners out for exercise. They watch three tow trucks strain to resurrect the bones of next years Chevrolet, junked in the creek. Isnt it terrible, they ask. Their eyes are glittering with the ares and searchlights. Awful, they say. And they may stay up, now, probably, talking, half the night.

e. a. miller From above, the Horseshoe Curve twists Narrow like an eel, like a swoop of birds Turning in ight, a loop of railroad ribbon Caught up in the names of dead men: Wike, McGarvey, Brandimarte, Greenough Slipping into Scotch and Sugar Runs, Fiery sweetness bright against the curve of

Allegrippus where a locomotive came to grief The spill of its boxcars against the mountains Like a giants cast-off belt. Even now the deafening climb of trains Is a chant against loss, a noisy prayer Salpino, Gallitzin, Allegheny, Juniata, Altoona, Muleshoe, Kittaning, Cresson Portage, Lilly, Lemon House, Johnstown When they unfurl into the Whipoorwill Straight Line, calling whipoorwill, Whipoorwill, whipoorwill until home.

Memorial Day, Elderton, Pennsylvania

ed ochester Blazers with shotguns parked near the We Buy Deerhides sign, ags ags ags ags ags ags lots of old folks at the curb on plastic-web chairs, and then the color guard, drums in the distance, and the towns oldest disabled veteran in a Honda followed by the school band, the director strutting alongside in a fresh green suit and when they get to the reviewing stand the kids stick out their chests and a whistle blows and a single drum beats and the whole band launches John Phillip Sousas Thunderer and highsteps down Main Street to applause and half the old folks tapping their feet, and then the elementary school twirlers, batons dropping everywhere

faster than branches in an ice storm, and next Brownies of all sizes like a roach herd, furious legs and scurrying, and last the town re truck siren off but its red light turning and a guy with missing front teeth waving at the crowd, the whole procession going to the cemetery in back of the hog farm to hear a state senator and be blessed by the Methodist pastor as the band members dget and joke andwho knows?break wind at particularly solemn moments, as the rst cutting of hay lies in the elds, and two cows gaze with mild interest at the senator and some of the high school kids are holding hands even though they had clear orders not to.

Home Town
w. d. snodgrass I go out like a ghost, nights, to walk the streets I walked fteen years younger seeking my old defeats, devoured by the old hunger; I had supposed this longing and upheaval had left me with my youth. Fifteen years gone; once more,

the old lies are the truth: I must prove I dare, and the world, and love, is evil. I have had loves, had such honors as freely came; it does not seem to matter. Boys swagger just the same along the curbs, or mutter among themselves and watch. Theyre out for the same prize. And, as the evening grows, the young girls take the street, hard, in harlequin clothes, with black shells on their feet and challenge in their eyes. Like a young bitch in her season she walked the carnival tonight, trailed by boys; then, stopped at a penny stall for me; by glittering toys the pitchman called the reason to come and take a chance, try my hand, my skill. I could not look; bereft of breath, against my will, I walked ahead and left her there without one glance. Pale soul, consumed by fear of the living world you haunt, have you learned what habits lead you to hunt what you dont want;

learned who does not need you; learned you are no one here?

Apollo Is a Pink Town

j o anne growney Just past the radio tower ashing three red lights, the green Ford enters the haze above Apollo that tastes like the grit in your mouth when your bicycle spills. From the back seat we see the two-hump playground slide in the park. You squeal as you remember a waxed-paper ride to Uncle Charlies arms. The Ford goes halfway down the Third Street hill to Terrace Avenue, slowly takes the bumpy ride on yellow bricks past terraced lawns that slope to walls that children climb. One great stone house with wrapped front porch and wicker chairs covered for soot-protectionis guarded by banks of pachysandra and horse chestnuts. Each October you collect a bag full. Numbered streets lead down to the steel mill by the Kiski River. Each house has a sit-on porch, a library with Twain and Kipling, a cleaning girl from Vandergrift to shine the windows, a woman who quilts and bakes cookies lled with raisins, a man who takes a black lunch box down through the rosy smog of dawn to the mill.

You call Apollo the pink town before the steel plant closes, before Grandma dies, before the bicycle spills.

Pennsylvania September: The Witnesses

marjorie maddox
United Airlines Flight 93

allegheny county emergency coordinator

Something made it pivot, duck its nose at Cleveland and turn away from San Francisco and the mounting sun unabashedly displaying its ordinary face. Nineteen times that Ohio Center called out for contact, safety, conrmation, any answer to the circling back over the Keystone, over the routine of our lives, all that came before. Controllers and pilots, we all listened for the practiced SOS, then translated to fear that static of turmoil, cockpit havoc, radio mistaken for intercom, the unplanned for and unfamiliar voice commandeering crew and passengers toward calm, those strangers now condently on their way towards Pittsburgh, boasting a bomb.


westmoreland county 911 dispatcher

Almost 10:00 a.m., and his voice escaped that locked bathroom, that 757 diving toward disaster, loss of hope and altitude inltrating the airwaves of our county, our headquarters, my desk. His name, he said, was Edward Felt. The plane, he said, was hijacked and all the mapped-out EMS routes clicked on full-force in the circuitry of my sleep-deprived brain and took off into air over the farm houses of those Id helped save; over the chipped-paint homes of those we found too late, unable to survive any siren-escorted stretcher, their familys prayers wailing past clouds only to re-work into ame.
the cell phones

After the rst shock of TV news, we were the 21st-century messengers of still more, our coiled cells crackling out confusion across Somerset county to both coasts. Drafted, conduits of chaos and courage, we assisted duty, the fear beneath: unrehearsed confessions, the 23rd Psalm, I love yous saved on answering-machine tapes, last minutes of bravery rewound and replayed after that unanimous No! lled the elds and abandoned mines of Pennsylvania with lonely awe. The wind was echoing.


auto service station owner, shanksville

Turns out we were bout three miles down but, I swear, it coulda been the next block. Shook the whole station. Some peoples windows blasted open, like it was the furnace or something. Two loud bangs, then straight down, some gal over the hill told me later. And a high-pitched screechthat too. Of course, we alls ran outside, that re whistle blowing something erce.
the bike riders

A twirling reball, that engine gunned twice, house windows rattling all around, then smoke rising right up signal-style from below the tree line. When we got there: the whole damn eld on re, trees plowed down and this big hole broad as a barn and deep uninvited in the ground.
the first photographer

I grabbed my camera quick-like, tracked that smoke to a few acres of grass and weeds below the old strip mine.


I clicked automatically, focusing pain. In the trees, what was left of metal and esh. Beyond the woods, the scorched crater swallowing who I was.
i watch a mother at the year memorial

Even now, the hills lie too beautifully below sky, fabricate disbelief. How can the wrens sing? Piles of trinkets collapse beneath new ags and plastic tulips, messages scrawled to the dead on portable toilets, guardrails of makeshift parking lots. Such an ugly thing to happen in this lovely place, she said, turning to leave.

Spring: Fayette County, PA

luise van keuren Above the strip mine, in wide elds of solitude, we walk the still-brown grass of a boggy slope. Searching for owls, we nd them in short supply. Winter was long, snow thick, the cold heartsick. The owls ed south, we decide, preferring survival.


The treasure of the day, rather, is in meadowlarks. Bold in yellow and black, larks strut the knolls and pose atop the leaess saplings at the edge of the pit. Besides larks we hear the distant whine of motorbikes wheeled by boys desperate for something like life. These empty, forgotten pastures substitute well for the quest. Owl-less we search the elds above the rutted road where it little matters what we have done or forgotten. Meadowlarks bear it all. Singing on and on, they open the spring, above the gray desert of the mine.

This Hill Will Get You There

patricia jabbeh wesley This is the beginning of country. The roads bend sideways as though they themselves could fall off these winding cliffs. Where trees lean and houses bend, cattle uphill in some far-away eld seem to all lean sideways, eating sideways. But this hill will get you there. Although the ground winds up and down steep green that seems to take you to the end of earth. Before you reach Pittsburgh, you will wonder if this trip was worth it after all. There is no level ground up here no plains, no cornelds, no at landscape so your eye can reach the end of earth. There is no way of knowing tomorrow, of knowing sky from below.

If you believe in sky, take it, it is blue and beautiful, and at times, there is no dividing line between where the trees end and where sky begins. I hold my breath as we wind up another hill and up another hill until there is no breath left in me. This is what I sold myself to this is what I get for giving up the lakes surng in Michigan, the fresh waters of Michigan that stretch endless, and yet wild as the ocean knows strength. This is what I get, having abandoned the Atlantic, where as a child, I used to run wild upon Monrovias salty beaches. There is no salt here, no fresh water, no foaming waves, and yet these green hills steal my heart. These never-ending hills that sigh deep just before the day turns to twilight.

Turning into a Pond

gerald stern All I need is one foot in the mud to keep my sanity. That way the water snakes can swim through my blood and the greedy pickerel can hide under my leaves. All I have to do is fall asleep in the water and let the yellow lights turn from gold to brown

as I sink to the bottom. When it rains I can lie face down in the lilies and let the naked couples rest their tired legs on my back. When it gets dark I can sing to them about insanity and compare my community to theirs. I will release information softly, using a deep voice for emphasis, telling them one thing at a time. At night I will slow down and drift with the zooplankton. I will dream about Voltaire and his white feet, about Mozart and his hands. The large mammals will waddle down to the shore and drop their heads into the water. The dragony will pull in its murderous lip and the sher spider will rest on its line. In a century or two the beavers will turn me into a meadow and my muddy wife will walk over my chest listening for cattails. We will be so far apart it will take us weeks to reach each other. Going by road you will be able to point me out when you get to Two Bridges, in back of Penn Run, in Indiana County. The weeds and grasses are beginning to struggle for attention; the water is turning warm; we are going into April.


Image not available

vi. north by northwest: the alleghenies and erie

Second Coming in Northern Pennsylvania

steven huff Im driving back into the woods, deep into the mountains that gave me away once like an unadmired bride, driving out of New York into Bradford, PA, and on into Custer City where people may still share my genes but look at me suspiciously over their cups, driving deep, deep, like another deed done in a back seat in haste on a road with no lights, deep, still seeking those old angels that drank from the oil creeks, I dont even know whos the governor here now, much less nd my blood ones who turned their dark backs and went into the past, big and serious as boulders though they remain in my eyes, went deep into the woods vast enough to hide from me for eons, whod convinced me young that Jesus would come, that Id never grow up, drive a car, love and marry, and go to hell broke, but He didnt come, and now its me coming back, alone, old folks, old ghosts, on bald tires. Coming without trumpets. Its me.


When I Looked Next

michael teig I found the orchard anxious with bees and a bowlegged dog and I knew I was home. On the opposite hill, the houses strung out like laundry along the ridgelines and the elds face up. Shuttling sun. The neighbor lady sweeping as if god said, Sweep. I found my father with a seed catalogue and a blue plastic pail. Hold this, he says, Hold still. For years I found his shirts in my closet. Apparently the way I scratch my head is his. I saw him later at the gas station and spent two nights across from his ruined face in a bar. After the music stopped I went on more or less singing. In one story we cant stop playing whife ball, the trees done up in uniforms of dusk. In another my friends and I phone every Richard in the book including Richard Richards who is a cousin. I remember a brief cameo with a re engine, the sunowers grown stiff and bankrupt in the yard, unrelenting. I have the pictures.

They show a man younger than myself with something like evening settling beneath his eyeglasses, the afternoon so warm and simple it looks ridiculous to believe in a day like that.

After Tithonus and Aurora, Thoughts on a Life of Work

david swerdlow How slow her walk, how timid, like an animal from another landscape, she came up our gravel driveway, her mother waiting in their Amish buggy, how empty the girls face seemed, how saddened her eyes I was cutting the grass on the diagonal, the geometry not quite working, when I saw her, her bare feet on the stones, her stiff blue dress and bonnet, her body pitched to carry a dozen ears of corn in a blue plastic grocery bag. Its hard to know anyone, I think, harder still at the end of the day, the end of work upon us in some strange mix of delight and remorse,

our hands trembling, and our bodies, in their exhaustion, at once our own and otherly, stiffening toward nightfall. There she was, expression blank as a cloud, edges blurred, wanting to know if I wanted corn, $2.75 a dozen, and she held it there as the fact our lives had come to. ~ We begin some mornings knowing disaster slips into our routine as easily as the leaf turns yellow and spins to the grass. We turn to the person we love whose sadness, resembling our own, cancels our own, and we hold on, and we say, without saying, there is work to be done. Its ours the way the morning light falls on the yard is ours. ~ For three weeks, there was no rain, no dew. Some grass turned brown and diedsomething about the way we walk over the deceased, looking for our own faults

I scraped the dry ground with a rake until it turned soil again, scattered seedssomething about randomness, works companion and waited for growth. Every evening I go inside wondering if my wife is pregnant, the parallel too conspicuous, and thus dissatisfying. I bought the corn, cooked four sweet ears, and left the rest in the garage for days, until I knew they were no longer good. ~ Cutting the grass on the diagonal, I hope, helps to diminish the furrows that have come, like wrinkles, with one patterns repetition, the grass bending and unbending this way is one green, this way is another. Work, we say, in the unrestricted, abstract formintending the noun, seeing the verb bends the grass, cuts the yard,

cuts me, is pattern as pattern. As if it were a huge problem, the yard is full of possible angles efcient or not, beautiful or not, they trace before me like these swallows at dusk, cruising a foot above the ground for prey, ravenousthen that curve slightly upward. The sound of shoed hooves on the road almost gone, the sound of my wife, maybe, someone the moment before night is placed like a jar over our songs, small holes to breathe, autumn Im going in now, Im going in now

Bullet Shell Heart

kirk nesset Craving life again, I failed to crawl out of bed. Leaves made their midmorning twirling, the orange-yellowred-yellow scrape over pavement, but I didnt see. My mind sputtered, an unkempt kerosene lamp,

while my neighbor, Sisyphus-like, raked. Id dreamed I worked on space station Mir, gazing down at the planet. After months I missed gravity and fresh vegetables; thanks to constraints Id had to stay on. Names of towns swirled byWest Almond, Arkton, Hornell towns Id seen but not well, more anonymous crosses. The past, however ugly, seems sublime from a peak; hate at least you can feel, you can feel. Besides, my head said, this was your wish: sleeping alone. Another backwater Duke of Windsor, stone-stupid in slumber. Leaves taunted my neighbor, eeing the rake. The empty bullet shell heart is one end, I might have said then the black end of waning before the waxing begins. The air holds; theres water, dehydrated food. Weight and light will claim an end, too.

antonio vallone To see the other side of rural Pennsylvania, I rode with a neighbor in his pickup into the mountains outside the limits of DuBois, jacklighting for deer. With the rst herd held in the lights furnace, I was glad he forgot to load the rie in his rack.

My neighbor, out of work for 36 weeks, wasnt. A buck and three doe, hoof-deep in gray mist swirling across the rutted and frozen mud road, stared in our direction as if staring through ghosts. My neighbor swore under his breath. I clicked off the spotlight and watched the deer disappear into darkness between trees, black streaks blurring my sight, knowing better, like the moon, two sides one light, one dark, inseparable and necessary.

White Tent in the Alleghenies

david staudt In these woods, deer shine white. One circles circumspectly the white handkerchief hanging out of my pocket. Its a forest high and empty as a Metrodome, in which a Minneapolis of crickets cheers on the players all night. At night, across the soft-leaved

oor, porcupines move in as quietly as sailboats. One tests the metal guard around the lean-to; one sniffs outside my tent ap, carefully, like someone enjoying a steak, or trying to identify a bad smell in the bedroom. Later, in the car, running the heater, listening to a Potter County preacher pronounce evil on the government, I hear something gnawing on the chassis. A big one, oil-blue and streaked ash-white, it lowers its head in the headlight beam, guiltily, and will not move, like a dog caught lying on the sofa. We sit on the ground at midnight together, mumbling our stray thoughts. Still later, the rest of a sleepless night, angry red squirrels trampoline off the tent sides. I see their rigid bodies, airborne in moonlight, coming toward and bouncing out of focus. What do all the animals always want into so much? They seem like the poorest of the poor, dragging their tribes across ruined plains, and stumbling always into trouble, as curious of their dispossessors as shamed by their dispossession.


Mountain Night
berwyn moore This mountain steals the night from my body. The blue trees sway and the milky-eyed moon cowers under a cloud. I touch the stones at my feet, read the names with my ngers like Braille. A man in my room is writing a poem about a woman thinking of death. The moon slides in. Blue trees. The moan of a mourning dove. The woman carries a stone to her grave, and the man leads her to a lake where she sees the faces of her dead children in her reection. She thinks about the man reconstructing the stories of her life, a garden wild with weeds, aging dogs, and the house she imagines that will keep her children safe, but when she turns to thank him, he is a shadow among the trees. The sky deepens with dawn. I walk to my room with a stone, the window open to the chill, papers uttering. I let the children sleep and collect kindling for the re.


Swimming in Lake Erie: Intermediate Beginners

deborah burnham We all wore rough knit suits, red, as if dyed with cherry juice. Our muscles were too young to understand that theyd been made in water but not for it, that the efcient crawl was dangerous because it let us swim beyond the buoys, into the waves that roll before they break, a few feet nearer Canada. Years later, tired of sleeping by myself, I drank four beers and danced in a tight red bodysuit, its nylon ribs outlining mine, my breasts, my breathing, quick as if Id nished twenty laps. I loved red, I loved my hard swimmers shoulders, my long calf muscles that shot me through green water. I loved the music, thrumming in long waves relentless as the lake, tempting, promising our bodies we would not choke or drown, no matter how far from the dry shore we kicked and stroked and let ourselves go.

The Resurrection of Lake Erie

gerald costanzo
Everything before me turns to allegory.
Jose Emilio Pacheco

Soon after the word went out, dismembered bodies cast off

in barrels by the Maosi fused, and hatching from those eggs of slat, swam toward the shore of the new life. The rotting sh righted themselves and went on. Plant life again. And clear, warm breezes moved through Cleveland, Dunkirk, and Buffalo. In the air, geese, their honking and a pleasure in the sadness of natural life its second chance. From the beaches the waving arms of bathers signaled the freighters, signaled the sloop cutting across from Erie to Port Stanley.

Confession Off the Lake

george looney When the sky goes at, the lake clams up, in the middle of the one about the two-year-old found burned. Arson, the local news said. Ashes return nothing to wind the wind thought lost. No fool, this lake. Guilt is a question it wont ask. Whether shermen

sh this storm or drink their hearts to calm in some collapsing bar is no evidence. There is fear in every house built this close to water. The father, its said, set the blaze, his heart as weak as memorys loyalty to what happened. The lake cant heal anything. No drunks drink in the ruin of a bar built out over sour sh and waste. The heart is too prone to water damage. Ghosts of ore freighters chained to what passes for docks confuse the wind enough it gives up and heads south. Id rather not have to hear about this frayed woman weeping over a small, charred body. But the gulls tell everything. Their voices never break.

john repp
For Jan Cunningham / after Robert Hasss Privilege of Being

When you said The winter here was long I thought how bitter my own, how not even Hasss angels

salved the ayed meat of me, nor Rilkes Angel, nor the angel a sweet, illiterate student swore perched on my left shoulder, nobitterness yowled, a catbird blown into a scatter of rusted-out propane tanks, clinging to a strand of barbed wire, hunkered on a radiator, mewling at ice-fog dawn, mewling at frozen deer, turkeys pathetic in the drifts, the fox huddled in the culvert, screeching gray bird feasting on its own hunger, no matter foot on foot of snow, day on day of squalls, snapped power lines, sub-zero health warnings, the cars low-pitched threats through April, cold May, snow on the third of June, longing cold as the gelid tar sunk in my poor cars crankcase, gust on gust of terror yet one afternoon a wood thrush hovered open-beaked as I rifed the book to nd her. Once as the moon set, two turkeys haggled over the cobs Bunks reaping left. Inside a particular minute, I turned his back long enough for me to know bliss while writing a check for the gas. __________ July has melted everything. In the garden, slugs have killed the sage a friend yanked from the bed where we stroked garlic, pinched basil, cooed over the mint, dead sage I drove home thriving in a grocery bag, herb Frank gave for the bed

I dug with the best shovel Agway sells tempered blade, ash handle, the exquisite heft the burly clerk promised. Five hundred miles from here, you tend snap peas, hill potatoes and cucumbers, kneel lthy among roses, wielding tools made to outlive us, the only kind worth having.

Bus Stop at West 12th Street

sean thomas dougherty Who will write their names with shadows & lean in the wrong place, my eyes azure, stealing light & ugliness & Little Wing, like Hendrix wailing more magnicent, a human voice a lifetime turn my pockets, I am empty, in the torn air a river of warehouses, this late afternoon, the bus stop is not a song about desire, but a miscarriage, this old man maybe about midnight with one eye closed he will rest as all bodies must receive the rain begins to fall on all of us, he is limping while standing still, & that boy humming Hendrix has paused to take off his shirt, so thin his limbs I swear I hear offering him their crumbs the ants: those tiny Hearsts.

In the Old Neighborhood It Begins in the Urgency of Whoever Is Nameless It Pulls the Night Hard in the Hands
sean thomas dougherty Beautiful is the half hook of this thin boy with a purple mesh tanktop lofting the orange globe of an enormous star. Beautiful is the moon black with strange birds circling under a baobab tree, and the GE Plant and the secret weeping of a world I must kneel before scrawled by a childs long absence, a desire of need and neon fragments in a language of the last station signaling for signs and plush vowels and verbsfor this singing I am a moving river, two syllables, an ambulance of utterances and half full of love unafraid. For this beautiful is praise for childhood unspoken for stopping at the iron rim, and the chords of the basketball bouncing, and the next doorness of the old womans chamomile and diabetics and the cold water at choreography of dazzling injections and years ago Irene whirling through the streets naked except for a red bandana around her neck. This boy is beautiful and lofting half hooks, alone in the evening of whos death and needing and we know the story that begins in curtainless rooms and the glass gurines in their music box cases whirling in machinations, the old womans broken air looms the moon


rising over someplace else, etherous and death played, and this city the shape of voices, and burning, and the fuming betrayals of friends, all long forgotten for this playground where a boy in a purple mesh tanktop standsleaps, pulling the dark, abandoning the parapets and trapdoors of the neighborhood for the fragile bones of his hand.

Driving in Someone Elses Light

mark s. borczon the fog crawls like a living thing in these Pennsylvania county towns rolling like feline shoulders across the highway exits feels like my whole truck ts in the palm of 5 a.m. the oating rib on my right side feels the drivers ache


after a half hour at the wheel and i try to shrug a crack from my spine feel the snap and set the birds free then, chased like smoke across the white line so, this is freedom i say out loud hazardous shoulders and driving in someone elses light a vague but gnawing suspicion that i died miles back but just havent gured it out yet the fog, like magic shoes once put me on will dance me to death before work.


In a Diner in Franklin, Pennsylvania

george looney Local rumors of seduction mix with the aroma of grease. Hearts ngered in the inch of grime over stoves are signatures or curses drawn by cooks the owners daughters recognized would never be more than cooks. In shorts they were legend. Local dogma proclaims that men with hands burned raw have touched themselves, after beers, dreaming of the girls perfect thighs until they couldnt feel anything, and businessmen passing through Franklin have been haunted far more by esh the daughters bared than by the grease cursing their colons. We had come to town to hear a woman speak phrases as dark as Virginia coal. Their legend was deserved, those thighs persistent rumors of the pure absolutes of mathematics poking into the real world. Any one of us could have dropped to


our knees to praise them. We had chosen the diner out of respect for how the local is being lost. We didnt know the legends until the sad image of their bodies, twisted in an embrace swinging from the beam in the diner wed eaten under, made it, in words, to our local paper. The thought of the hung-over rst-shift cooks lowering their naked bodies, slipping, reverently, the frayed ropes from their pale necks, is enough to convince me all the simple hearts drawn by ngers in all the grime in the world are gospels of love. I like to imagine the two of them singing as they tied the ropes around the beam. And after they stripped, I imagine them turning on every light in the diner so that men walking home drunk from bars would think them a vision and go home haunted by feelings theyd buried years before and touch their wives awake,


the fumbling of that buried love all over town making their last breaths a blessing.

Meditation in Oil City, PA

philip terman The windows of Electralloy Steel glare out at the black river meaning the workers are punched in and the sky will greet travelers driving in on Route 8 out of Franklin with handfuls of smoke rising like gray balloons to the stars we can no longer see or name. When the young oil executive out of New York moved in with his wife she smelled the greasy air, broke down, and cried. But on a Sunday night, the snow sparkling like silver coins above the empty blocks, lights off in the living rooms, you can almost believe again in the old magical formula of how oil equals money equals Victorian mansions equals comfort. The derricks

and other creatures not found in nature have disappeared into the imaginations of dead capitalists. All the trees have shed their soot, the railroad has rolled up its rails for the night, and we are all working hard in the dark, dreaming of wind blowing away smoke, of Orion letting down his sword and belt.

The Auctioneer
philip terman We bounce the truck down Route 308 through Clintonville, Pennsylvania, past the open windows with the off-white curtains drawn. Rolling farmland, a light blue late-summer sky. Buzzing insects, hummingbirds sweeping in and out of the morning glories that climb the garden trellises. Catching the sign and the arrow, we turn down a gravel and dirt road until we come upon a line of trucks parked off to the side against a barbed wire fence beyond which a half dozen cows quench their thirst in a small pond. The soft rippling voice of the auctioneer rolls and dips in accents and punctuated ecstasies through the farmland of Clinton Township between the leaves of large oaks and the tips of straw hats and bits of goatees gathered in a congregation.


Off to the side, ice cream is sold just moments after being cranked through a machine run by pulleys and a generator; you can watch a man adding cream, vanilla, sugar into the freezing shaft, hear it spinning, watch the women dipping their spoons and lling styrofoam cups beyond their brim for a dollarno cash machine, no credit cards. You can smell the beef smoking in gigantic iron barrels 50 yards away. As far away as New Wilmington: children smaller versions of their parents, older women selling freshly baked bread and home-made noodles and elderly pies and orange cookies, teenage boys with their rst growth of whiskers, old men with the smoke of pipes billowing out of grey birds. And the items to be auctioned in an orderly scatter: farm equipment, hand-sewn quilts, hanging plants, raspberry bush starters, garden tools, bluebird houses, rocking chairs crafted with oak and hickory branches steamed and twisted like bamboo. Some folks mosey, others chant in old German and Dutch, men in the barn, women on the porch of the enormous white farmhouse. I study the auctioneer. Himself Amish, no older than 17. Blue zipper-less pants, like the rest, buttoned, with suspenders, straw hat with black band, like the rest. Bookish face covered with pimples. Though his arms are powerful, he walks with a cane. His voice is quick and clear as he rattles through the numbers, stressing and pointing, ipping his head this way and

that so he can catch the bids that are made only with the subtlest of gestures: a sharp glance in an eye, a slight twitch of a forehead, a quick mumble. An older man, not Amish, approaches me and starts to chat. He wears a white shermans cap, a blue workers shirt with the name Bill sewn above the right pocket and mechanic sewn above the left. See that auctioneer? Bill inquired. I rst met him at a cow auction. He came in with that cane and sat down on the bench next to me. Bill squints his eyes into the sun; his face is crusted, the skin almost golden as if hed spent many hours in his own eld. He continued: The kid told me: Lost both my legs. Lost them in a silo when I was 4. My dad was still on the tractor and I ran off and climbed up the silo and he didnt know so when he turned it on he didnt know I was in there. Lost the left one up to me knee and the right one a little above the knee. Bill pauses and zeros his face closer to mine. Hes a damn good auctioneer, though. No one taught him. He mustve practiced himself out in the pastures, walking on those articial legs there where the cows were grazing and pointing at them and practicing the numbers, as if they were bidders. I imagine the auctioneer, while his brothers and cousins were sweating with their harrows and sickles, walking by himself with hobbled dignity in the pastures, mornings and afternoons, fooling with tone and tempo, stress and modulation, like the Greek shepherd with the speech impediment who spoke to himself for hours with marbles in his mouth in the empty

hills above the Aegean Sea so he could one day become a famous orator. He wanted to be someone in his community. Now, the auctioneer has everyones attention as he holds in his hands a rusted metal milk jug thats being sold to help pay for the local Amish schoolhouse. OK, do I hear $10? Someone give me 10? Yes or no?

Tractor Pull
brad comann All praise to you, the one event at the fair that tilts our heads to one side for a good look through the blue diesel exhaust, free of any Air Quality Control. The hourly from CK Tool & Dye or Better Baked Foods have taken to the stands to see your straight forward power: a weighted platform with its hydraulic iron slab shifting until so heavy a tractors front wheels rise, with its back ones turning in one place (each new entry greater than the sway of concessionaires, their sausages and dream cotton candy). Oh, what designs you have, beyond the pat doubt of Whats the use? Now theres one! A Henderson from the early 50s, restored, ready for yesterdays eld corn . . . and now

the MC announces a new Class III records been set. Its driver out of Union City, hearing from your crowd, touches once, in thanks, the bill of his brown cap.

If We Were as Brilliant as Groundhogs

philip terman We know these are the shortest days: late dark, early dark, weve adjusted in our own fashions to the degrees of gray, maneuvering down icy roads to spend hours in dusty rooms reciting the literature of our complaints. But now the clouds have decided to disperse and the pre-dawn moon re-appears, having experimented with how long we could live without it, like a lover vanishing into an inexplicable privacy, or a god who needs the reassurance that we are unable to live without Him. Yes, thats what the light is for us: we can take its absence only so long. At rst we rejoiced in its leave-taking, its daily requirements of radiance, glarings and exposures, its requisite pleasures, the burden of beautys full view, content to bear what our new lives require:


turning inward, taking deliberate steps, the deeper silences, the sudden distances, mist gathering and receding, monochrome and framed, objects blurring into themselves: trees into sky, water into eld, the sudden bursts of snowfall from the place the stars were. And the ashames of the smaller gods who carry what remains of light: blue jay and cardinal, red-headed woodpecker, red-streaked nch, enough to keep most happy, reminders of what once was and harbingers of what will come again. But for others its not enougha ick of an occasional ight is only a gesture, some cosmic mockery meant to tease or test their resolve for just how much they can stand, stuck in their houses, relying on their own inner resources. If we were as brilliant as groundhogs wed sleep through it, sink deeply into the muddy caves of our bodies and dream the dream of the inactive, practicing for our own deaths, suspending almost completely our blood, like the waters of this immediate earth, until the stirring, as now, the prodigal light roaring across the horizon, blinding us in its harsh return, daring us once again back into our own lives.


On Gobblers Knob
shirley s. stevens We gather on the hill outside Punxsutawney to draw tight circles against the dark. Five thousand strong, we twist and shout to circulate blood to our frozen toes, then dance The Pennsylvania Polka, bellow Roll Out the Barrel in the snow. At six a.m., comet candles, ares, wheels of light burst against the dark, and I think of Stonehenge where Druid priests lit bonres against the endless nights. Our hopes volley as sizzlers salute the whistle pig who whispers to the handler in his top hat: Six more weeks. Winter rules.

The History of Summer

sharon f. m c dermott

Boy in bare feet and shorts takes the road in Hadley, bucket banging his knees. Its hard work to ll the new pond his father dredged: bass and carp, snails and freshwater clams, a long stretch of road for a ve-year-old-boy


to tramp, back and forth, bucket laden with algae and cramped sh stolen from the neighbors pond. His folks are busy with their chores and the boy, like a small July, teems the waters for his beloved father, watches wide-mouth sh glide away, then drags the nally empty bucket through elds of timothy and yarrow, collecting grasshoppers and crickets to heave into the pond. A new world leaps up.

First there was light in a Pennsylvania eld: tossed straw through the trees and it was good. Then, rain under canopy of forest: footsteps on the tent and it was good.

All July, rain, and the overow of downspouts, the burgeoning crops. Crows shrugged water off wings struck blue in mornings gray haze. The boy and his brother, restless, egged each other on to ll the empty silo roof collapsed from rust and age with garter snakes and toads. A huge terrarium with mossy sides. All slithering below, the brothers threw in bugs from the sodden elds. Old silo pulsed with its reptiles; the boys on the lip looking down.



Too soon the boy was seventeen, his father left for work, masonry tools in a bucket, built the steps to Franklins courthouse, left a leaf print as his signature. He was wielding a block trowel when his heart stopped and he left Hadley, his wife, his sons, the silvering pond, all the gold elds of corn and the calves bucking in the pastureleft and they carried him deep to the earth, carried him deep all of their days.

Holy the leaves silver palms turning over the idea of storm. Holy the lightnings branch tendering the oak groundward. Holy the thunder, the bodies outside, the green-gray cast to the sky, the pelting rain. Holy the demand of water; it will come down, it will ll these small creeks: Minister, Tionesta, the great Allegheny, our own arrival with wet feet, wet, our own arrival, holy.



We would like to thank Lock Haven University for an Alternative Workload Leave and Bloomsburg University for release time that allowed us to complete this project. To our dedicated student internsCheryl Kirkwood, Charlie Rice, Joslyn Sherry, and Jennifer Wolfewe give a standing ovation for invaluable help. We are grateful to Paul Ruby for his perceptive photos and to all the poets who recommended additional authorsespecially Michael Waters, Shara McCallum, Barbara Crooker, Peter Krok, Sean Dougherty, Gabriel Welsch, and JoAnne Growney. We are particularly grateful to Julia Kasdorf, whose strong vision, insightful advice, and constant encouragement made this anthology a reality. Finally, a heartfelt thanks to Peter Potter and his team at Penn State University Press for their steady faith and guidance. Many of the poems in this volume have been published previously. We are grateful to the people and institutions, listed below, who kindly granted us permission to reprint. All other poems are previously unpublished and appear courtesy of the poet. Diane Ackerman: Lines Written in a Pittsburgh Skyscraper from Jaguar of Sweet Laughter, copyright 1991 Random House, Inc., used with permission of the publisher. Elizabeth Alexander: Preliminary Sketches: Philadelphia from The Venus Hottentot, copyright 1990 Rector and Visitors of the University of Virginia, used with permission of Graywolf Press, St. Paul, Minnesota. Maggie Anderson: Closed Mill from Windfall: New and Selected Poems, copyright 2000, University of Pittsburgh Press, used with permission of the publisher; Gray from Cold Comfort, copyright 1986 University of Pittsburgh Press, used with permission of the publisher. Jan Beatty: Pittsburgh Poem from Mad River, copyright 1995 University of Pittsburgh Press, used with permission of the publisher. Robin Becker: Spiritual Morning and Star Show from AllAmerican Girl, copyright 1996 University of Pittsburgh Press, used with permission of the publisher. Michele Belloumini: Crazy Mary Rides the El from Crazy Mary and Others, published by Plan B Press, 2004, used with permission of the poet.

Karen Blomain: Centralia and The Miners Wife Leaves Home from Black Diamond, published by Nightshade Press, 2004, reprinted in Coalseam: Poems from the Anthracite Region, published by the University of Scranton Press, 1993, used with permission of the poet; Bombogenesis from Normal Avenue, published by Nightshade Press, 1999. Thomas Kielty Blomain: So the Coal Was Gone from Coalseam: Poems from the Anthracite Region, published by the University of Scranton Press, 1993, used with permission of the poet. Bruce Bond: Reports: Part 1, Acoustic Shadows from Radiography, copyright 1977 by Bruce Bond, used with permission of boa Editions, Ltd., www.BOAeditions.org; Pleasure Gap from Independence Days, published by Woodley Press, 1990, used with permission of the poet. Juanita Brunk: Papaya: Lancaster County from Brief Landing on the Earths Surface, copyright 1996 University of Wisconsin Press, used with permission of the publisher. David Chin: Route 81 from The China Cupboard and the Coal Furnace, published by Mellen Poetry Press, 1999, used with permission of the poet. Nicole Cooley: Nocturne: Roller Mills Flea Market from Central PA Magazine, published by witf, Inc., 1999, used with permission of the poet. Gerald Costanzo: Resurrection of Lake Erie from Ohio Review, reprinted in Nobody Lives on Arthur Godfrey Boulevard, copyright 1992 by Gerald Costanzo, reprinted with the permission of boa Editions, Ltd., www.BOAeditions.org. Barbara Crooker: Me n Bruce Springsteen Take My Baby to College from the journal The Atlanta Review, used by permission of the poet; Worlds End from the journal Loyalhanna Review, used with permission of the poet; Christ Comes to Centralia from the journal Proof Rock, used with permission of the poet. Craig Czury: Coalscape and March 10, 1951 from Gods Shiny Glass Eye, published by FootHills Publishing, used with permission of the poet. Jim Daniels: Panther Hollow Bridge, Pittsburgh from the journal Delta Review, used with permission of the poet. Gregory Djanikian: Going Back from About Distance, copyright 1995 by Gregory Djanikian, reprinted with permission of Carnegie Mellon University Press. Sean Thomas Dougherty: Bus Stop at West 12th Street from the journal The Carnegie Mellon Poetry Review reprinted in Nightshift Belonging to Lorca, published by Mammoth Press, 2004, used with per228

mission of the poet. In the Old Neighborhood from the journal Briar Cliff Review reprinted in Nightshift Belonging to Lorca. Courtesy of the poet. Lynn Emanuel: Desire from The Dig and Hotel Fiesta, copyright 1984, 1992, 1995 by Lynn Emanuel, used with permission of the poet and the University of Illinois Press. Sherry Fairchok: Ode to Coal and What They Wanted Us to Bring Back from The Palace of Ashes, copyright 2002 CavanKerry Press, used by permission of the publisher. Gary Fincke: Class A, Salem from the journal The Gettysburg Review, reprinted in Blood Ties: Working Class Poems, published by Time Being Books, 2002, used with permission of the poet; The Agnes Mark from the journal American Literary Review, reprinted in The Almanac for Desire, published by BkMk Press, 2000, used with permission of the poet. Valerie Fox: This is not my cousin from the journal West Branch, used with permission of the poet. JoAnne Growney: Apollo is a Pink Town from the journal Ginger Hill, used with permission of the poet; The Bloomsburg Fair from the journal The Raystown Review and was later reprinted in Intersections, published by Kadet Press, used with permission of the poet. Ann Hayes: Steelers! Steelers! Steelers! from Letters at Christmas and Other Poems, published by Badger Press, 1995, used with permission of the Estate of Ann Hayes. Samuel Hazo: Gettysburg, from Quiet Wars, published by Sheed and Ward, 1962, used with permission of the poet. Robin Hiteshew: Potters Field, Germantown from A Germantown Sequence, published by Irish Pig Press, 1996, used by permission of the poet. James Hoch: Coal Crackers from the journal Gettysburg Review, used with permission of the poet. Cynthia Hogue: It Isnt Raining from the journal Red Rock Review, reprinted in Flux, published by New Issues Press, 2000, used with permission of the poet. Ann Hostetler: Female Ancestor from Empty Room with Light, published by Pandora Press U. S., 2002, used with permission of the poet. Harry Humes: Showing a Friend My Town and Deer from Bottomland, published by the University of Arkansas Press, 1995, used with permission of the poet. Fishing the Little J Beneath the Methodist Church from Buttery Effect, published by Milkweed Editions, 1999, used with permission of the poet. Julia Kasdorf: Nights Like This from Central PA Magazine, published by witf, Inc., 1999, used with permission of the poet; Freight

from Eves Striptease, copyright 1998 University of Pittsburgh Press, used with permission of the publisher. Mennonites from The Sleeping Preacher, copyright 1992 University of Pittsburgh Press, used with permission of the publisher. Janet Kauffman: Mennonites Farm Wife from Weather Book, published by Texas Tech University Press, 1981, used with permission of the poet. Ruth Ellen Kocher: Susquehanna: The Projects from Desdemonas Fire, published by Lotus Press, Inc., 1999, used with permission of the poet. Sandra Kohler: In the Small World, Naming Heraclites, and Renovo from The Country of Women, published by Calyx Press, 1995, used with permission of the poet. Kristin Kovacic: Brick from All This Useless Beauty, edited by Pam Gemin, published by University of Iowa Press, forthcoming, used with permission of the poet; Leaving Pittsburgh from the journal The Pittsburgh Quarterly, used with permission of the poet. Leonard Kress: Rowers on the Schuylkill from The Centralia Mine Fire, published by Flume Press, 1987, used with permission of the poet; Spiritual Exercises, Kensington, Philadelphia from the journal Artful Dodge, reprinted in Sapphos Apples, published by HarrowGate Press, used with permission of the poet; Polka Dancing to Eddie Blazonczyk and His Versatones in Coaldale, Pennsylvania from the journal The Crab Orchard Review, used with permission of the poet. Maxine Kumin: Halfway from Selected Poems, 1960-1990, copyright 1960 Maxine Kumin, used with permission of W. W. Norton & Company, Inc. Lynn Levin: If You Are Reading This from the journal The Cedar Hill Review, reprinted in Imaginarium, published by Loonfeather Press, used with permission of the poet. Ginny MacKenzie: Cleareld County Fair and Aunt Lena Committed to Bellefonte State Hospital from the journal Ploughshares, reprinted in Skipstone, published by Backwaters Press, 2002, used with permission of the poet. Marjorie Maddox: Little League World Series: First Play from the journal Blueline, reprinted in When the Wood Blacks Out Your Name: Baseball Poems, published by Redgreene Press, 2001, used with permission of the poet; Buggy Ride at 16 from Northeast Corridor, published by Sandstone Publishing, 1995, used with permission of the poet. Helen Mallon: Before the Silver Cord is Loosed from Bone China, published by Finishing Line Press, 2002, used with permission of the poet.

Paul Martin: Gallivanting and A Different House from the journal The Recorder, used with permission of the poet; The Quarry from the journal Poetry Now, used with permission of the poet. W. S. Merwin: Burning Mountain from The Drunk in the Furnace, copyright 1960 by W. S. Merwin, used with permission of the Wylie Agency, Inc. Ann E. Michael: Sprawl from More than Shelter, published by Spire Press, 2004, used with permission of the poet. Ron Mohring: The Company We Keep from Survivable World, published by The Word Works, 2003, used with permission of the poet. Berwyn Moore: Mountain Night from the journal Wisconsin Review, used with permission of the poet. Stephen Myers: J. B. Phones Me at the End of Summer, Asking Where I Find Silence in the Lehigh Valley from Work Site, published by FootHills Publishing, 2003, used by permission of the poet. Kirk Nesset: Bullet Shell Heart from the journal The Green Mountains Review, used with permission of the poet. Ed Ochester: Miracle Mile from Snow White Horse: Selected Poems 1973-1988, published by Autumn House Press, 2000; Memorial Day, Elderton, Pennsylvania from Allegheny, published by Astrada Press, 1995, used with permission of the poet. Deirdre OConnor: Bells and My Grandfathers Cronies from Before the Blue Hour, published by Cleveland State University Poetry Center, 2002, used with permission of the poet. Peter Oresick: Family Portrait, 1933, The Jeweler, and One of Many Bars in Ford City, Pennsylvania from Denitions, published by West End Press, 1990, used with permission of the poet. Jay Parini: Working the Face and Coal Train from Coalseam: Poems from the Anthracite Region, published by the University of Scranton Press, 1993, used with permission of the poet. Karl Patten: November Textures from the journal Yarrow, reprinted in Impossible Reaches, published by Dorcas press, 1992, used with permission of the poet. Linda Tomol Pennisi: Field (an Excerpt) and The Strippings from Seamless, published by Perugia Press, 2003, used with permission of the poet. Anthony Petrosky: Photograph used with permission of the poet. John Repp: Yet from White Doe, published by Mayapple Press, 2004, and from Gratitude, published by Cherry Grove Collections, 2004, used with permission of the poet.

Len Roberts: Climbing Three Hills in Search of the Best Christmas Tree, In Cursive, and Spring Peepers, April, Wassergrass from The Silent Singer: New and Selected Poems, copyright 2001 by Len Roberts, used with permission of the poet and the University of Illinois Press. Helen Ruggieri: Bones and Ashes from Coalseam: Poems from the Anthracite Region, published by the University of Scranton Press, 1999, used with permission of the poet. Sonia Sanchez: A Poem for a Black Boy from Under a Soprano Sky, published by Africa World Press, 1987, used with permission of the poet; Listening to Jimmy Garrison (Pittsburgh, Pa.) from Love Poems published by Third Press, 1973, used with permission of the poet. Carmine Sarracino: The Idea of the Ordinary from the journal West Branch, reprinted in The Idea of the Ordinary, published by Orchises Press, 2003, used with permission of the poet; Twelve Facts about the Immigrants: A Prose Poem from The Idea of the Ordinary, used with permission of the poet; The Battleeld Museum Guide Speaks from the journal War, Literature, and the Arts, reprinted in The Heart of War, published by Parallel Press, 2004, used with permission of the poet. Betsy Sholl: Back with the Quakers from Late Psalm, copyright 2004 The University of Wisconsin Press, used with permission of the publisher. Real Faux Pearls from The Red Line copyright 1992 University of Pittsburgh Press, used with permission of the publisher. W. D. Snodgrass: Home Town from Hearts Needle, published by Alfred A. Knopf, 1959, and later in Selected Poems, 1957-1987, published by Soho, 1987. Flash Flood, from After Experience, published by Harper & Row, 1968. Both poems used with permission of the poet. David Staudt: Lehighton from the journal The Nassau Literary Review, reprinted in The Gifts and Thefts, published by Backwaters Press, 2000, used with permission of the poet. White Tent in the Alleghenies from the journal New Zoo Poetry Review, reprinted in The Gifts and Thefts, used with permission of the poet. Racetrack Downriver from The Gifts and Thefts, used with permission of the poet. Gerald Stern: In Carpenters Woods and Turning into a Pond from Rejoicings, published by Fiddlehead Poetry Books, 1973, used with permission of the poet; The Dancing from Paradise Poems, published by Random House, 1984, used with permission of the poet. David Swerdlow: After Tithonous and Aurora, Thoughts on a Life of Work from Small Holes in the Universe, published by WordTech Editions, 2003, used with permission of the poet.


Michael Teig: When I Looked Next from Big Back Yard, copyright 2003 Michael Teig, used with permission of boa Editions, Ltd., www.BOAeditions.org. Philip Terman: If We Were as Brilliant as Groundhogs and Meditation in Oil City from House of Sages, published by Mammoth Press, 1998, used with permission of the poet. Heather Thomas: Wallace Stevens House Prayer from Resurrection Papers, published by Chax Press, 2003, used with permission of the poet. John Updike: Shillington from Collected Poems, 1953-1993, copyright 1993 by John Updike, used with permission of Alfred A. Knopf, a division of Random House, Inc. Antonio Vallone: Jacklighting from Grass Saxophones, published by Damballah Press, used with permission of the poet. Jack Veasey: Three Mile Island Siren from Quitting Time, published by Warm Springs Press, 1991, used with permission of the poet. Jeanne Murray Walker: Coming East from Cleveland to Philadelphia at Harvest and Colors from Fugitive Angels, published by Dragon Gate Press, 1985, used with permission of the poet Gabe Welsch: Pennsylvania from the journal Crab Orchard Review, used with permission of the poet. Jerry Wemple: Imagining the Johnstown Flood and Awl Street from You Can See It from Here, published by Lotus Press, 2000, used with permission of the poet; Cousin Will You Take my Hand? from the journal Word Journal, used with permission of the poet. Daniel J. Wideman: Integration (Kennywood Park, June 1963) and Slaving from Three Rivers, published by Big Drum Press, forthcoming, used with permission of the poet.


the poets

diane ackerman, was born in Waukegan, Illinois, but her family moved to Allentown, Pennsylvania, when she was eight. She went to Pennsylvania State University for her sophomore, junior, and senior years and lived in State College and Fishermans Paradise during the summers. From there she went to Cornell to do graduate work. Her rst teaching job was at the University of Pittsburgh. She is the author of twenty works of nonction and poetry, most recently An Alchemy of Mind (prose) and Origami Bridges (poetry). For a full biography and list of books, see her Web site at www.dianeackerman.com. elizabeth alexander is the author of four books of poems, most recently, American Sublime. She has also written a book of essays, The Black Interior; a verse play, Diva Studies; and many short stories, reviews, and essays. She lived in Philadelphia from 1986 to 1990 while earning her Ph.D. in English at the University of Pennsylvania and wrote most of her rst book of poems, The Venus Hottentot, in West Philadelphia. She now lives in New Haven, Connecticut, and teaches at Yale University. maggie anderson is the author of four books of poems, most recently Windfall: New and Selected Poems, published in 2000. Anderson is also editor of the new and selected poems of Louise McNeill and coeditor of Learning by Heart: Contemporary American Poetry about School and A Gathering of Poets. Maggie Andersons mothers family was from Greene County, Pennsylvania. Anderson lived in Waynesburg from 1981 to 1989 while teaching at the University of Pittsburgh and working as a poet-inthe-schools and in correctional facilities throughout Pennsylvania. She directs the Wick Poetry Center at Kent State University and edits the Wick Poetry Series of the ksu Press. jan beatty is a Pittsburgh native. She is the author of two books of poetry published by the University of Pittsburgh Press: Boneshaker (2002) and Mad River (1995), winner of the Agnes Lynch Starrett Prize. Awards include the 1990 Pablo Neruda Prize and two fellowships from the Pennsylvania Council on the Arts. Beatty is the recipient of the Creative Achievement Award in Literature from the Pittsburgh Cultural Trust for the year 2000, presented by Robert Pinsky.

robin becker s collections of poems include Giacomettis Dog, AllAmerican Girl, and The Horse Fair (University of Pittsburgh Press). In 2001, The Frick Art & Historical Center (Pittsburgh) published Venetian Blue, a limited-edition chapbook. Professor of English at Pennsylvania State University, Becker has received fellowships from The Bunting Institute, the Massachusetts Cultural Council, and the National Endowment for the Arts. In 2000, she won the Atherton Award for Excellence in Teaching from Penn State. Raised in suburban Philadelphia, Becker graduated from Abington Friends School. michele j. belluomini s work has appeared in numerous journals and in the recent anthology, NOW(then)!Poets, from the Eternal Now Poetry Series. Her book Crazy Mary and Others won the PlanB Press poetry chapbook competition in 2004. She was born in Pittsburgh, attended Temple University in Philadelphia, and after a brief sojourn in the Southwest, returned to live and write in Philadelphiaa city that insinuates itself into many of her poems. Poet, novelist, essayist, and translator, karen blomain holds an mfa from Columbia University. A native of the coal region of northeastern Pennsylvania, she teaches in the Professional Writing Program at Kutztown University. She has published two full-length poetry collections (Borrowed Light and Normal Ave.), two chapbooks (Black Diamond and The Slap), and A Trick of Light (Toby Press, 2002). Two of her stories won Penn Syndicated Fiction Prizes. She has received fellowships for the Pennsylvania Council on the Arts, Blue Mountain Center, The Ragdale Foundation, the Djerassi Foundation, and Vermont Studio Center; and has led workshops in France, Russia, Austria, and Ireland. thomas kielty blomain was born in Scranton and resides in Clarks Summit, Pennsylvania. A graduate of Keystone College, La Plume, and Dickinson College, Carlisle, he holds two professional designations in insurance underwriting and consulting from The American College, Bryn Mawr. A board member of Mulberry Poets, a visual artist and musician, he is the author of Gray Area, a collection of poems published in 2004 by Nightshade Press/Keystone College Books. bruce bond s collections of poetry include Cinder (nalist, til Best Book of Poetry Prize, Etruscan Press, 2003), The Throats of Narcissus (University of Arkansas Press, 2001), Radiography (Ornish Award, boa Editions, 1997), The Anteroom of Paradise (Colladay Award, qrl, 1991),


and Independence Days (R. Gross Award, Woodley Press, 1990). He has received fellowships from the nea, the Texas Commission on the Arts, and other organizations. Having once taught at Lock Haven University, where he lived in the state forest on the Susquehanna, he is now a professor of English at the University of North Texas and poetry editor for American Literary Review. mark s. borczon describes himself as a poet of the city of Erie . . . the reality of this city is the big truth of what I do. He was born and raised in Erie and has a ba in philosophy from Edinboro University, where he works for the disabled student program. His poems have been published in a handful of small magazines and in the Poets along the Lake anthology. juanita brunk s rst book of poetry, Brief Landing on the Earths Surface, was selected by Philip Levine for the Brittingham Prize. She was born in Virginia and moved to Lancaster, Pennsylvania, after graduating from college. She lived there three years and taught English as a second language before pursuing an mfa in creative writing at George Mason University. She spent a year as poet in residence at the University of Wisconsin, and currently lives in Brooklyn, New York. deborah burnham teaches English and writing at the University of Pennsylvania. For over twenty-ve years, she taught poetry at the Pennsylvania Governors School for the Arts, where she created and directed the writing program. Her book, Anna and the Steel Mill, won the First Book Award from Texas Tech University Press. david chin s fth great-grandfather, Daniel Carpenter, visited William Cooper, father of James Fenimore Cooper, near Otsego Lake and traveled down the Susquehanna with him to inspect lands one hundred miles south. In 1795, Daniels son, Ezra, and his wife, Mary, settled in Luzerne County, Pennsylvania. David Chin, 199 years later, moved to Luzerne County to teach at Penn State Wilkes-Barre and visit old cemeteries. His most recent book is The China Cupboard and the Coal Furnace. charles clifton teaches creative writing at the University of Pittsburgh at Johnstown. He has published poems recently in 5 AM, Melange, The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, Salt River Review, The Louisville Review, and in the anthologies Larger than Life and In a Fine Frenzy: Poets Respond to Shakespeare (University of Iowa Press, 2005). He has also written a collaborative chapbook, Riprap, with the Toronto poet Suzanne Collins.

brad comann lives in the small town of North East (a few miles from Erie) and since 1998 teaches English and religious studies at Penn StateErie, The Behrend College. His poems have appeared in various small presses. He has an mfa in creative writing from the University of North Carolina at Greensboro. nicole cooley s rst book, Resurrection, won the 1995 Walt Whitman Award and was published by Louisiana State University Press in 1996. Her second book, The Aficted Girls, was published by Louisiana State University Press in April 2004. She has also published a novel, Judy Garland, Ginger Love, with Harper Collins (1998). She teaches at Queens CollegeCity University of New York and lives with her family in New Jersey but previously lived in Lewisburg, Pennsylvania, and taught at Bucknell University. gerald costanzo is the author of several collections of poems, including Nobody Lives on Arthur Godfrey Boulevard and Great Disguise. He received the Devins Award for his rst collection, In the Aviary, and numerous other awards for his editing and writing from the Coordinating Council of Literary Magazines, The Falk Foundation, and the Pennsylvania Council on the Arts. Additionally, he has received two nea Creative Writing Fellowships and two Pushcart Prizes for his poems. He is coeditor of the recent anthology American Poetry: The Next Generation. Professor of English and director of the University Press at Carnegie Mellon University, he has lived in the Pittsburgh area for thirty-ve years, and currently resides in Mt. Lebanon, Pennsylvania. barbara crooker has published in magazines such as Yankee, The Christian Science Monitor, Smartish Pace, and The Denver Quarterly; anthologies, including Worlds in Their Words: An Anthology of Contemporary American Women Writers; and eleven chapbooks. She has received three Pennsylvania Council on the Arts Fellowships in Literature, seventeen Pushcart Prize nominations, and won the 2004 W. B. Yeats Society Award, judged by Grace Schulman. Her rst full-length collection won the Word Press First Book Award and is forthcoming. She has lived in Pennsylvania for over twenty-ve years, in an old apple orchard near Fogelsville. craig czury (www.poet-in-education.com) was born in Wilkes-Barre, Pennsylvania, and now lives in Reading. His most recent books include Gods Shiny Glass Eye (2004) and In My Silence to Justify (2003), both issued by FootHills Publishing. His book American Know-How Patent

Pending has been published in Spanish and Italian editions. Czurys poetry has also been published in Lithuanian and Russian editions. He teaches and creates multivoice poem fusion performances with diverse communities and groups in schools, prisons, hospitals, and other venues around the world. jim daniels lives in Pittsburgh, where he has taught at Carnegie Mellon University since 1981. His most recent books are Show and Tell: New and Selected Poems (University of Wisconsin Press) and Detroit Tales, short ction (Michigan State University Press), both published in 2003. barbara decesare is a writer in the paartners Arts in Education Program. She is the author of Jigsaweyesore (Anti-Man Press, 1999) and a workshop instructor at the annual University of Pennsylvania Writers Conference. Her poems and short ction have appeared in over seventy journals nationwide. She is a paralegal by day and teaches literature and composition for Harrisburg Area Community College by night. She lives in York Township, Pennsylvania. toi derricotte, a professor of English at the University of Pittsburgh, has published four books of poems, The Empress of the Death House, Natural Birth, Captivity, and Tender, winner of the 1998 Paterson Poetry Prize, and a memoir, The Black Notebooks. The Black Notebooks received numerous awards and was a New York Times Notable Book of the Year. She is the recipient of a Guggenheim Fellowship, two fellowships in poetry from the National Endowment for the Arts, and two Pushcart Prizes. She is the cofounder of Cave Canem, the workshop/retreat for African American poets. gregory djanikan was born in Alexandria, Egypt, in 1949 and came to the United States when he was eight. He spent his boyhood in Williamsport, Pennsylvania, and learned about America by playing in its neighborhood lots and maneuvering through the mazy hallways of its schools. He is the author of four collections of poetry, the latest of which is Years Later (Carnegie Mellon). His poems have appeared in numerous journals and in over twenty-ve anthologies and textbooks. He directs the creative writing program at the University of Pennsylvania in Philadelphia. sean thomas dougherty is the author of six books, including Nightshift Belonging to Lorca (2004, mammoth Books). He is the recipient of a 2004 Pennsylvania Council on the Arts Fellowship in Poetry and a 2002 Penn State Junior Faculty Research Award. He lives in Erie, Pennsylvania, with the writer Heather A. Slomski and his son, Gabriel, and teaches in the bfa Program for Creative Writing at Penn State Erie.

lynn emanuel is the author of three books of poetry, Hotel Fiesta, The Dig, and Then, Suddenlywhich was awarded the Eric Matthieu King Award from the Academy of American Poets. She has been a poetry editor for the Pushcart Prize anthology, a member of the Literature Panel for the National Endowment for the Arts, and, most recently, a judge for the National Book Awards. A professor of English at the University of Pittsburgh, she has lived and worked in Pittsburgh for more than twenty-ve years. sherry fairchok was born in 1962 in Scranton, Pennsylvania. She is the granddaughter and great-granddaughter of coal miners; her mothers family has lived in the borough of Taylor, a former coal-mining patch just outside of Scranton, for more than seventy-ve years. She earned a bachelors degree from Syracuse University in 1993 and an mfa from Sarah Lawrence College. Her chapbook, A Stone That Burns, won The Ledge 1999 Chapbook Award. CavanKerry Press published her rst full-length collection, The Palace of Ashes, in December 2002. In 2002, she won the Pablo Neruda Prize in the Nimrod/Hardiman Literary Awards. She lives in Mt. Vernon, N.Y., and works as a technical writer. gary fincke grew up in Pittsburgh and is the Writers Institute director at Susquehanna University. His collection, Sorry I Worried You, won the 2003 Flannery OConnor Award for Short Fiction; Writing Letters for the Blind won the 2003 Ohio State University Press/The Journal Poetry Prize. Ampd: A Fathers Backstage Pass, his nonction account of his sons life in two signed rock bands, was published by Michigan State University Press in 2004, and a new collection of poems, Standing Around the Heart, will be published by the University of Arkansas Press in 2005. Born in Philadelphia, george fleck has been interested in poetry since the age of twelve, when he became enamored of the dancing words of Shakespeare, Sandburg, Frost, and Bent. He began writing his own poetry in 1998. He is a graduate of Temple University in Philadelphia, a Korean War veteran, and has been a certied Shiatsu therapist for the past fourteen years practicing in Wayne, Pennsylvania. valerie fox s most recent book of poems, The Voyeurs Handbook, will be published by Strawgate Press in 2005. Her poems have appeared in many journals. She teaches at Drexel University, in Philadelphia, where she helps to edit The Drexel Online Journal and also writes reviews and essays. Since she grew up in a very picturesque region of rural Pennsylvania, the people and landscape there continue to have a great inuence on her. Many of the people in her hometown seem always to be waiting for something to happen; she thinks this habit carries over into her work.

joanne growney grew up in Indiana, Pennsylvania, and often visited her maternal grandmother, Anna Wachob Black, in nearby Apollo. Childhood attendance at the Indiana County Fair matured into support of the fair in Bloomsburg, the town where she now lives. Nearly a lifelong resident of the Keystone State, JoAnne is an active supporter of the arts and cofounder of River Poets and Five & Dime Cultural Center. In 2004 she became poet in residence at Bloomsburgs Childrens Museum, a responsibility involving writing, developing exhibits, and teaching classes. michael hardin moved to Pennsylvania six years ago, which introduced him to seasons and the rural life for the rst time, and lives with his wife and daughter in a two-hundred-year-old farmhouse. He is assistant professor of English at Susquehanna University and has published poetry in Gargoyle, Tampa Review, Seneca Review, Paper Street, Texas Review, among others. He is also the author of two books of literary criticism, Playing the Reader (2000) and Devouring Institutions (2004). ann hayes was professor of English at Carnegie Mellon University where she taught literature for forty-three years. Her poems appeared widely in such magazines as New Mexico Quarterly, Virginia Quarterly Review, Southern Review, Three Rivers Poetry Journal, The American Scholar, The Hudson Review, and Maryland Poetry Review. Her last book, Letters at Christmas and Other Poems was published in 1995. She lived in Pittsburgh from 1957 until her death December 2000. The author of books of poetry, ction, essays, and plays, samuel hazo is the director of the International Poetry Forum in Pittsburgh, where he also is McAnulty Distinguished Professor of English Emeritus at Duquesne University. His latest poetry collections include The Holy Surprise of Right Now, As They Sail, Just Once: New and Previous Poems, and A Flight to Elsewhere. He has been a National Book Award nalist and was chosen the rst State Poet of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania by Governor Robert Casey in 1993, a position he held until 2003. kathryn hellerstein teaches Yiddish and Jewish studies at the University of Pennsylvania and lives in Philadelphia. Her books include a translation and study of Moyshe-Leyb Halperns poems, In New York: A Selection; Paper Bridges: Selected Poems of Kadya Molodowsky; and Jewish American Literature: A Norton Anthology, of which she is coeditor. Her poems and translations have appeared in Poetry, The Kenyon Review, Partisan Review, Tikkun, and Kerem.


robin hiteshew lives in Philadelphia and has spent most of his life living in Pennsylvania. He was educated at Temple and Case Western Reserve University and has a chapbook, A Germantown Sequence (Irish Pig Press, 1996). In January 1998, he established the Laughing Hermit Press and the Laughing Hermit Reading and Poetry Series. With poetry published in numerous journals, he also is an avid photographer with exhibits in the middle Atlantic region. james hoch has lived in Pennsylvania for many years, residing in Pequea, Lancaster, and Pittsburgh. A graduate of Millersville University, he taught at Franklin & Marshall College for four years before going on to Lynchburg College. His poems have appeared in The Kenyon Review, Gettysburg Review, Slate, Agni, Antioch Review, Post Road, Pleiades, West Branch, Poetry Daily, Verse Daily, and others, and have been nominated three times for a Pushcart Prize. He is the recipient of fellowships and scholarships from Bread Loaf, Sewanee, and Summer Literary Seminars, and received a 2002 Individual Artists Fellowship from the Pennsylvania Council on the Arts. His book, A Parade of Hands, won the Gerald Cable Award and was published in March 2003 by Silversh Review Press. cynthia hogue s most recent collections are Flux and the forthcoming The Incognito Body. She has lived and taught in Iceland, Denmark, New Orleans, New York, and Pennsylvania, where she directed the Stadler Center for Poetry at Bucknell University for eight years. She is the Maxine and Jonathan Marshall Chair in Modern and Contemporary Poetry in the Department of English at Arizona State University, where she teaches English and creative writing. ann hostetler was born in Mt. Pleasant, Pennsylvania, grew up in the greater Philadelphia area, and received her Ph.D. in English from the University of Pennsylvania. She is the author of Empty Room with Light: Poems (Pandora Press us, 2002) and editor of A Cappella: Mennonite Voices in Poetry (University of Iowa Press, 2003). Her poetry has also appeared in numerous journals and has been anthologized in Are You Experienced? Baby Boom Poets at Midlife (University of Iowa Press, 2003). Her scholarly essays have appeared in PMLA, ESQ: A Journal of the American Renaissance, and The Mennonite Quarterly Review. Hostetler, who is associate professor of English at Goshen College, in Goshen, Indiana, has also taught at the University of WisconsinMilwaukee, Marquette University, and the University School of Milwaukee. She was the 1993 recipient of a Wisconsin Arts Board grant.


steven huff was born in Bradford, Pennsylvania, in 1949. He served as publisher at boa Editions from 1996 to 2003. His rst book of poems, The Water We Came From, was published in 2003 by FootHills, and his new chapbook, Proof (2004), by Two Rivers Review. He works at Seymour Library in Brockport, N.Y., and teaches creative writing at Rochester Institute of Technology. Among harry humes s collections of poems are The Bottomland (University of Arkansas Press, 1975); Buttery Effect (Milkweed Editions, 1999); and August Evening with Trumpet (University of Arkansas Press, 2004). He is a recipient of a National Endowment of the Arts Poetry Fellowship, and writing grants from the Pennsylvania Council on the Arts. He was born in the coal-mining town of Girardville, Pennsylvania, and has written extensively about it, as well as about other parts of Pennsylvania. He lives in the country near Kutztown. Born in Lewistown, Pennsylvania, julia kasdorf grew up on the edge of the small town of Manor in western Pennsylvania. She has published two books of poetry, Eves Striptease and Sleeping Preacher. She is also the author of a collection of essays, The Body and the Book: Writing from a Mennonite Life, and a biography, Fixing Tradition: Joseph W. Yoder, Amish American. She is associate professor of English and womens studies at Penn State and lives in Bellefonte. janet kauffman was born in Lancaster, Pennsylvania, and raised on a tobacco farm near Landisville. She has published three books of short stories, including Places in the World a Woman Could Walk, three novels, and three collections of poetry. She now lives in Hudson, Michigan, where she farmed hay for many years, and through a conservation easement with the Federal Wetland Reserve Program has restored wetlands and wildlife habitat. ruth ellen kocher is the author of One Girl Babylon (New Issues Press, 2003), When the Moon Knows Youre Wandering (New Issues Press, 2002), winner of the Green Rose Prize in Poetry, and Desdemonas Fire (Lotus Press, 1999), winner of the Naomi Long Madgett Poetry Award. Her work has appeared in many journals, and has been translated into Persian in the Iranian literary magazine Sher. She lives in St. Louis, Missouri, and teaches literature and writing at the University of Missouri, St. Louis. sandra kohler was born in New York City in 1940. She attended public schools there, Mount Holyoke College (ab, 1961) and Bryn Mawr College (am, 1966, and Ph.D., 1971). From 1969 to 1976 she taught in

the English Department at Bryn Mawr College. Since then, she has taught literature and writing courses at levels ranging from elementary school to university and adult education while living in Philadelphia, in the Philadelphia suburbs (Bryn Mawr and Narberth), and, since 1992, in Selinsgrove, Pennsylvania, where she was an adjunct lecturer at Susquehanna University from 1994 to 2000. Since 1993, she has led an adult book discussion group at the Selinsgrove Community Library. Her poems have appeared in numerous periodicals. In 1985 and again in 1990, she was the recipient of an Individual Artist Fellowship in Poetry awarded by the Pennsylvania Council on the Arts. She has published The Country of Women (Calyx Books, 1995) and The Ceremonies of Longing (winner of the 2002 awp Award Series, University of Pittsburgh Press, 2003). kristin kovacic is the editor of Birth: A Literary Companion (University of Iowa Press). Her poetry, ction, and essays have appeared in many periodicals, and her work has been recognized by the Academy of American Poets. She is the recipient of a fellowship in poetry from the Pennsylvania Council on the Arts. She teaches in the mfa writing program at Chatham College and in the literary arts department of the Pittsburgh High School for the Creative and Performing Arts. She lives in Pittsburgh, where she was born. leonard kress has published four collections of poetryTryst: From the Life and Death of Chopin, The Centralia Mine Fire, Sapphos Apples, and Orphics. He has received individual artists grants in poetry and playwriting from the Pennsylvania Council on the Arts and the Ohio Arts Council. He studied religion at Temple; Polish literature at Jagiellonian University, Krakow, Poland; and poetry at Columbia. He grew up in Lafayette Hill and has lived in Philadelphia (Kensington, Harrowgate, Port Richmond) for twenty years. peter krok lives in Havertown and serves as the humanities/poetry director of the Manayunk Art Center, where he has coordinated a literary series since 1990. A much published poet, he is also editor of the Schuylkill Valley Journal. His poems have appeared in such journals as Yearbook of American Poetry, America, Mid-America Poetry Review, Midwest Quarterly, Poem, River Sedge, Poet Lore, Potomac Review, and numerous other print and online publications. maxine kumin was born in Philadelphia in 1925. She has published eleven books of poetry. She is also the author of a memoir, four novels, a collection of short stories, more than twenty childrens books, and four books of essays. She has received the Pulitzer Prize in Poetry, Aiken

Taylor Award for Modern Poetry, American Academy of Arts and Letters Award, a National Endowment for the Arts grant, and numerous other honors. lynn levin is the author of two collections of poems, A Few Questions about Paradise (2000) and Imaginarium (2005), both published by Loonfeather Press. Bucks County, Pennsylvania, poet laureate for 1999, Lynn Levin teaches English at Drexel University. Her poems have appeared in Boulevard, North American Review, The Nebraska Review, The Poetry Miscellany, Hanging Loose, One Trick Pony, The Ledge, and other places. She lives in Southampton, Pennsylvania. david livewell grew up in the working-class neighborhood of Philadelphias Lower Kensington section and attended LaSalle University. He works in Philadelphia as a medical editor and lives with his wife and two children in New Jersey. In 1999 he received a poetry fellowship from The New Jersey State Council on the Arts. For ve years he edited the literary journal Janus. His poetry has appeared in such journals as Poetry, The Threepenny Review, Light Quarterly, The Formalist, Schuylkill Valley Journal, and The Yale Review. george looney s rst collection, Animals Housed in the Pleasure of Flesh, won the 1995 Bluestem Award. His second, Attendant Ghosts, was published by Cleveland State University Press in 2000. His third, The Precarious Rhetoric of Angels, has won the tenth annual White Pine Press Poetry Prize (fall 2005). He is chair of the new bfa in Creative Writing program at Penn StateErie and editor of Lake Effect. ginny mackenzie spent the rst eighteen years of her life in Cleareld, Pennsylvania. Her manuscript, Skipstone, won the 2002 Backwaters Press Poetry Award, judged by Hilda Raz. Her poems, creative nonction, and short stories have appeared in New Letters, Ploughshares, Agni Review, Boulevard, The Nation, Pequod, The Threepenny Review, American Literary Review, Poetry East, and Prairie Schooner. Her work won the John Guyon Literary Nonction Award, and her stories and poems have won many university and magazine contests. She teaches at Borough of Manhattan Community CollegeCity University of New York and the School of Visual Arts in New York City. She is currently seeking a publisher for her novel, Sleeping with Gypsies. Director of creative writing and professor of English at Lock Haven University of Pennsylvania, marjorie maddox has published Perpendicular As I (Sandstone Book Award, 1995), Transplant, Transport,

Transubstantiation (Yellowglen Prize, WordTech Editions, 2004), When the Wood Clacks Out Your Name: Baseball Poems (Redgreene Press Prize, 2001), Body Parts (Anamnesis Press, 1999), Ecclesia (Franciscan University Press, 1997), How to Fit God into a Poem (Painted Bride Prize, 1993), Nightrider to Edinburgh (Amelia Prize, 1986), Weeknights at the Cathedral (WordTech Editions, forthcoming 2006), and over 270 poems, stories, and essays in journals and anthologies. She lives with her husband and two children in Williamsport. dan maguire s work has appeared in The Comstock Review, The Paterson Literary Review, Schuylkill Valley Journal of the Arts, Mad Poets Review, and others. He was awarded rst prize for poetry at the Philadelphia Writers Conference in 2000 and again in 2001. His rst book of poems, Somewhere Between, was published in 2004 by Brief Candle Press, through a grant from the English Speaking Union. helen w. mallon comes from a Philadelphia Quaker family. For her, language is born out of the rich silences she rst experienced as a child in Quaker meeting. She has a bfa from Temple Universitys Tyler School of Art and an mfa from Vermont College. Her poetry chapbook, Bone China, was published in fall 2002 by Finishing Line Press. She has poems forthcoming in Phoebe: A Feminist Journal and Sunstone Magazine. paul martin grew up in Palmerton, Walnutport, and Slatington, small towns on the Lehigh River. Hes the son of Slovak immigrant parents and now lives in Ironton, Pennsylvania. Twice a recipient of poetry fellowships from the Pennsylvania Council on the Arts, he has authored two collections of poetry, Green Tomatoes and Walking Away Waving. A third, Knowing Where to Knock, is forthcoming. His current manuscript, Closing Distances, was twice a nalist in the National Poetry Series. sharon f. mcdermott is a visiting lecturer of creative writing at the University of Pittsburgh. Born in New Jersey, McDermott has lived in Pittsburgh for almost twenty-ve years. In 2001, she received a Pittsburgh Foundation artists award, and was awarded a 2002 Pennsylvania Council on the Arts Fellowship. Her chapbook, Voluptuous, was published by Ultima Obscura Press, in 2002. A chapbook, Alley Scatting, is forthcoming from Parallel Press in September 2005. leslie anne mcilroy a Pittsburgh nativewon the 2001 Word Press Poetry Prize for her full-length collection Rare Space and the 1997 Slipstream Poetry Chapbook Prize for Gravel. She also took rst place in the Chicago Literary Awards judged by Gerald Stern. Leslies poems are

published in journals and anthologies, including American Poetry: The Next Generation, The Emily Dickinson Award Anthology, Mississippi Review, and Nimrod International Literary Journal. She works as a freelance copywriter. w. s. merwin was born in New York City in 1927 and grew up in Union City, New Jersey, and in Scranton, Pennsylvania. From 1949 to 1951 he worked as a tutor in France, Portugal, and Majorca. He has since lived in many parts of the world, most recently on Maui in the Hawaiian Islands. He has been the recipient of many awards and prizes, including the Pulitzer Prize in Poetry. Copper Canyon Press recently reissued early work by Merwin under the titles The First Four Books of Poems, The Second Four Books of Poems, and Flower and Hand: Poems, 19771983. His latest collection is Migration: New and Selected Poems. A Pennsylvania resident since 1986, ann e. michael is a rostered artist in the school through the Pennsylvania Council on the Arts and a recipient of a Pennsylvania Council on the Arts Fellowship in poetry. She is a poet, essayist, and librettist, as well as an English instructor at DeSales University. Her chapbook, More than Shelter, was published by Spire Press in 2004 (www.spirepress.org). Both of e. a. miller s parents came from the same small townMount Union, Pennsylvaniaand most of her relatives still live there. She is the only member of her large, extended family to be born outside of Pennsylvania, for which she gets much grief at family reunions. ron mohring s poetry collection, Survivable World, won the 2003 Washington Prize. His poems have appeared in Alaska Quarterly Review, Bloom, Gettysburg Review, and Puerto del Sol, among other journals. He teaches literature and composition in Lewisburg and Bloomsburg, and serves as senior associate editor of West Branch. berwyn moore has published a book of poems, Dissolution of Ghosts (Cherry Grove Collections, 2005), in addition to poetry and nonction in The Southern Review, Shenandoah, Poetry Northwest, Kansas Quarterly, JAMA, The Pennsylvania Review, New Virginia Review, Cimarron Review, Mid-American Review, and other journals. She is an associate professor of English at Gannon University in Erie, Pennsylvania, where she has lived since 1985. jason moser was born and grew up in Lehighton, Pennsylvania. Graduating from Bloomsburg University in 2004, he currently teaches

seventh-grade language arts at the J. T. Lambert Intermediate School, in East Stroudsburg, Pennsylvania. Much of his poetry thus far is an attempt to understand what it means to live in, and be from, northeastern Pennsylvania. steven myers was born in Lewisburg, Pennsylvania, and grew up in rural Bucks County. His undergraduate degree is from Allegheny College in Meadville, his Ph.D. from the University of Rochester, N.Y. Since 1990 he has taught at DeSales University in Center Valley, where he also coordinates the universitys annual poetry festival, now in its twentieth year. Recent publications include a full-length poetry collection, Memorys Dog (2004), and a chapbook, Work Site (2003). kirk nesset is author of Mr. Agreeable, a book of short stories (mammoth Press, forthcoming), and a nonction study, The Stories of Raymond Carver (Ohio University Press). He has published more than two hundred stories, poems, translations, essays, reviews, and interviews in journals, including The Pushcart Prize anthology, The Paris Review, Ploughshares, Raritan, The Southern Review, Gettysburg Review, Iowa Review, Michigan Quarterly Review, Prairie Schooner, Fiction, Witness, American Literature, Gothic Beauty, The Sentimentalist, and elsewhere. He is associate professor of English and creative writing at Allegheny College and serves regularly as writer in residence at the Chautauqua Writers Institute in upstate New York. He has spent this last decade in western Pennsylvania, in the woods, mainly, between Edinboro and Meadville. Born and raised in upstate New York, jeffrey oaks has for the last seventeen years made his home in Pittsburgh, recently buying and renovating a house in the Lawrenceville section of the city. He is the author of two chapbooks, The Unknown Country (State Street Press, 1992), and The Moon of Books (Ultima Obscura Press, 2000), and has published poems in many literary magazines. He has received three Pennsylvania Council on the Arts Fellowships and a Pittsburgh Foundation Fellowship and twice won Academy of American Poets Prizes. He teaches creative writing at the University of Pittsburgh, where he is the managing director for the Pittsburgh Contemporary Writers Series. ed ochester, native of Monroeville, Pennsylvania, has served as editor of the Pitt Poetry Series and general editor of the Drue Heinz Literature Prize for short ction, both published by the University of Pittsburgh Press. From 1978 to 1998 he was director of the Writing Program at the

University of Pittsburgh, and was twice elected president of Associated Writing Programs. His many books include Cooking in Key West and The Land of Cockaigne. He teaches in the mfa Program at Bennington College, coedits the poetry magazine 5 AM with Judith Vollmer, and lives in Appalachia in rural western Pennsylvania. deirdre oconnor grew up in Pittsburgh and was educated at Bucknell and Penn State Universities. Her book, Before the Blue Hour, received the Cleveland State University Poetry Center Prize in 2001. Her work has appeared in many journals, including Poetry, River City, Haydens Ferry Review, Natural Bridge, and Souwester. Codirector of the Writing Center at Bucknell, she has lived in central Pennsylvania for over twenty years peter oresick was born in 1955 in Ford City, Pennsylvania, a mill town in the Allegheny River Valley near Pittsburgh. He is the author of Denitions: Poems and the editor of three collections of poetry, Working Classics: Poems on Industrial Life, The Pittsburgh Book of Contemporary American Poetry, and For a Living: The Poetry of Work. jay parini was born in 1948 and raised in the anthracite region of northeastern Pennsylvania. He graduated from Lafayette College in Easton and received his Ph.D. in 1975, from the University of St. Andrews, in Scotland. He has taught at Dartmouth, Oxford, and Middlebury, where he is currently Axinn Professor of English. Parini has published ve books of poetry, including The Art of Subtraction: New and Selected Poems (2005). His six novels include The Patch Boys (1986), set in Pennsylvania mining country, and The Apprentice Lover (2002), a novel about a young man from the same region. He has published a volume of selected essays as well as biographies of Steinbeck, Frost, and Faulkner, and edited The Oxford Encyclopedia of American Literature (2004). karl patten moved to Lewisburg in the Susquehanna Valley from Boston, having accepted a position in English at Bucknell University. He taught at Bucknell for many decades until his retirement. During this time he cofounded and coedited, with Robert Taylor, West Branch: A TwiceYearly Magazine of Poetry and Fiction and the West Branch annual poetry festival. He is the author of three collections of poetry: The Impossible Reaches (1992), Touch (1999), and Spaces and Lines (2002). linda tomol pennisi grew up in the Mt. Carmel-Kulpmont area of Pennsylvanias anthracite region. Her rst book, Seamless (Perugia Press, 2003), was partially funded by a Greenwall Fund Grant from the Academy

of American Poets. Her work has appeared in journals such as Bellevue Literary Review, Hunger Mountain, and Faultline. A recipient of a 2004 Constance Saltonstall Individual Artists Grant, she lives in Syracuse, N.Y., and teaches in the Creative Writing Program at Le Moyne College. matthew perakovich has called Pennsylvania home since 1987, dwelling mainly in and around Sullivan County, which is home to a lone trafc light and more deer than people. His work has won two Academy of American Poets prizes and was recently published in Carver and Mirth Grinder. He lives with his wife, three children, and three irascible cats in the outskirts of the already outskirted town of Orangeville. anthony petroksy, winner of the 1982 Walt Whitman Award of the Academy of American Poets, is a professor of English and director of teacher education at the University of Pittsburgh. His third poetry book, Crazy Love, was published by Louisiana State University Press in 2003. In addition, he has coauthored and coedited text books with David Bartholomae. Petrosky divides his time between Pittsburgh and Lincoln Center, Maine, as well as Gwangju, South Korea. A native of southern New Jersey who currently lives near the bluffs overlooking Presque Isle Bay in Erie, john repp has also lived in various Pittsburgh neighborhoods (Squirrel Hill, Greeneld, Oakland, Point Breeze) as well as in gorgeous Crawford Township. The author of Thirst Like This (University of Missouri Press, 1990), The Fertile Crescent (Cherry Grove Collections, 2004), Gratitude (Cherry Grove Collections, 2005), and four limited-edition chapbooks, he is the recipient of a National Endowment for the Arts Creative Writing Fellowship and two Residency Fellowships at Yaddo, teaches writing and literature at Edinboro University of Pennsylvania, and works in the Arts-in-Education Program of the Pennsylvania Council on the Arts. charles j. rice is an undergraduate at Bloomsburg University majoring in secondary/English education and creative writing and is a native of Ashland, Pennsylvania. He is the winner of the 2004 Fuller Fiction Award as well as the 2004 Richard Savage Poetry Award. Rice plans on continuing his education in the area of creative writing. Much of his poetry and prose deals with familiar Pennsylvania settings, particularly the Susquehanna Valley. len roberts writes, I wrote all three of these poems while living in Wassergass, Pennsylvania, which is a side-eddy of Hellertown, a town of approximately fteen thousand people. We live on a small farm and so the

nature poems, two of which, In Cursive and Climbing, are written about walking around the elds and woods with my young son. Our area/locale plays a large part in eight of my nine published books, so Pennsylvania has taken a major role in my writing. helen ruggieri grew up in small towns along the Lackawanna River in the Anthracite valley above Scranton. She graduated from Blakely High School and Penn State and teaches at the University of Pittsburgh campus in Bradford, Pennsylvania. sonia sanchez is the author of more than a dozen books of poetry and has published plays and edited anthologies. Among her many honors are the Community Service Award from the National Black Caucus of State Legislators, the Lucretia Mott Award, the Outstanding Arts Award from the Pennsylvania Coalition of 100 Black Women, the Peace and Freedom Award from Women International League for Peace and Freedom (wilpf), the Pennsylvania Governors Award for Excellence in the Humanities, a National Endowment for the Arts Award, and a Pew Fellowship in the Arts. She was the rst Presidential Fellow at Temple University, where she began teaching in 1977, and held the Laura Carnell Chair in English there until her retirement in 1999. She lives in Philadephia. carmine sarracino has lived in Pennsylvania for more than thirty years. He is a professor of English at Elizabethtown College and lives with his wife, son, and daughter in Hershey, Pennsylvania. His poetry has appeared in many magazines, including Prairie Schooner, West Branch, Beloit Poetry Journal, and The Laurel Review. He has published The Idea of the Ordinary (Orchises Press, 2003) and The Heart of War (Parallel Press, 2004). The Battleeld Photographer is forthcoming from Orchises Press in 2007. He is currently working on a novel. betsy sholl has published six books of poetry, most recently Late Psalm (University of Wisconsin Press, 2004). She currently teaches at the University of Southern Maine and in the mfa Program of Vermont College. During her childhood, she often visited relatives in Chester, Pennsylvania, where her grandparents grew up. She lived in Lewisburg for four years when a student at Bucknell University, and again in 2002 when she was poet in residence there. She has won the awp Prize in Poetry, the Felix Pollak Prize, and grants from the nea and Maine Arts Commission. robert small is a founder/director of Poets & Prophets, the Delaware Valleys longest running Grassroots Poetry Forum. He is a founder/coordi250

nator of Democracy Unplugged, a ve-year-old forum presenting alternative viewpoints, and is also a coordinator of Central American Activist Organization Delco Pledge of Resistance. He and his wife have enjoyed discovering Carlisle, Harrisburg, Reading, and Scranton on family, political (Green), and union business. They reside in Swarthmore (one dog, ve cats) and try to glimpse lives otherwise unseen. nathaniel smith has taught French and other Romance languages at Smith College, the University of Georgia, and Boston University. Since 1986 an administrator at Franklin & Marshall College (Lancaster, Pennsylvania), he teaches a rst-year seminar in reading and writing poetry each fall. He has written several books on medieval literature, and published poems and translations from a number of languages in many journals. He and his collaborator, Ion Cretu, have published in Bucharest two books of translations and comment on poems of the contemporary Romanian poet Ioan Es Pop. He is active in civic affairs in West Chester, Pennsylvania, where he and his wife reside. w. d. snodgrass was born and attended public schools in Beaver Falls, Pennsylvania, taking his rst two years of college at Geneva College, then his ba, ma, and mfa from the State University of Iowa. Allegheny College awarded him an honorary doctorate of letters. He is now distinguished professor emeritus from the University of Delaware. He has taught at Cornell, Syracuse University, Wayne State, Old Dominion, and the University of Delaware. His rst book of poems won the Pulitzer Prize in 1960; other volumes of poems, criticism, and translations have received various awards. david staudt grew up in Lehighton, Carbon County, the son of factory workers. A former navy veteran, he earned an mfa in writing from Cornell, and taught briey at Cornell and at Susquehanna University. He has published almost ninety poems, stories, and essays in literary journals. His book of poems, The Gifts and Thefts, was selected by Ted Kooser for the 2000 Backwaters Prize and published by Backwaters Press. He currently lives in York. A native of Pittsburgh, gerald stern is the recipient of many awards, including the National Book Award, the Lamont Prize, a Guggenheim, three nea Awards, a fellowship from The Academy of Arts and Letters, and the Ruth Lilly Prize. He has taught at many universities, including Columbia University, New York University, Sarah Lawrence College, and the University of Pittsburgh. His most recent book is What I Cant Bear Losing: Notes from a Life.

shirley s. stevens serves on the International Poetry Forum Board in Pittsburgh, where she teaches poetry in the schools as a poet in person. She belongs to the Squirrel Hill Poets, the Pittsburgh Poetry Society, and The First Word in Sewickley, a group that she leads. She has won prizes at the Westmoreland Arts Festival, the University of Pittsburgh Writers Conference, and the Three Rivers Arts Festival. david swerdlow is the author of Small Holes in the Universe (WordTech Editions, 2003). He teaches creative writing and English at Westminster College in New Wilmington, Pennsylvania. His poems have appeared recently in The American Poetry Review, Poetry, and West Branch. michael teig was born and raised in Franklin, Pennsylvania, where his family has run a furniture store for over fty years. His mothers family farmed in the area for well over a century. His rst book, Big Back Yard (boa Editions, 2003), received the inaugural A. Poulin, Jr. Poetry Prize. He is a cofounder and coeditor of jubilat. Currently, he lives in Easthampton, Massachusetts. philip terman teaches at Clarion University of Pennsylvania. His books include What Survive (Sows Ear Press, 1993), The House of Sages, (mammoth Books, 1998), and Book of the Unbroken Days (mammoth Books, 2004). His work has appeared in The Georgia Review, Poetry, The Kenyon Review, New England Review, Gettysburg Review, and other publications. He directs the Chautauqua Writers Festival and lives in a converted oneroom schoolhouse outside Grove City, Pennsylvania. heather thomas grew up in Reading, where she rst lived in the birthplace of poet Wallace Stevens, 323 North Fifth Street. A lifelong resident of Berks County, she is the author of ve books of poetry, including Resurrection Papers (Chax Press, 2003) and Practicing Amnesia (Singing Horse Press, 2000). Her poems have been translated into Spanish and Lithuanian, and she has given readings throughout the world. She is an English professor at Kutztown University. john updike, an American novelist, short story writer, and poet, was born in Reading, Pennsylvania, in 1932. He has also lived in Shillington and Plowville, Pennsylvania. Known as one of Americas most successful writers, Updike is the recipient of many awards, including the Guggenheim Fellowship (1959), Rosenthal Award, National Institute of Arts and Letters Award (1959), National Book Award in ction (1964),


O. Henry Prize (196768), American Book Award (1982), National Book Critics Circle Award for ction (1982, 1990), Unions League Club, Abraham Lincoln Award (1982), National Arts Club Medal of Honor (1984), and National Medal of Arts. As a writer and illustrator of ction for children and poetry for an adult audience, luise van keuren has a strong interest in landscape and nature. She lives in the mountains of southwestern Pennsylvania, where she enjoys observing wildowers, native plants, and animals of the region. She is on the English faculty at California University of Pennsylvania, south of Pittsburgh, and formerly taught at Juniata College, south of State College. antonio vallone is an associate professor of English at Penn State DuBois, where he is also coordinator of the Letters, Arts, and Sciences degree programs. He is the editor of Pennsylvania English, the journal of the Pennsylvania College English Association, and the publisher of mammoth books, a nonprot publishing company. He is the author of four volumes of poetry. jack veasey is the author of eight books of poetry, most recently The Moon in the Nest (Cross Town Boos, 2002). A play based on his poetry, One Sleepless Night Too Many, was produced by Theatre of the Seventh Sister in Lancaster in 1990. He is well known as a teacher of poetry and creative writing workshops for area libraries. Widely published in literary magazines, he is featured in the critically acclaimed anthology A Loving Testimony: Remembering Loved Ones Lost to AIDS (Crossing Press) and produced, wrote, and hosted Verbatim, a thirteen-week Public Radio literary series. He has written articles for The Philadelphia Inquirer, collaborated on exhibits for the Painted Bride Art Center, and has released a CD album with Dave Snyder. Among his special acclaims is a fellowship from the Pennsylvania Council on the Arts and being a two-time honoree of pennbrook. He currently hosts the Van Goghs Ear poetry reading series at Borders Books and Music in Harrisburg. judith vollmer is the author of three full-length collections of poetry (Reactor and Level Green, both University of Wisconsin Press, and The Door Open to the Fire, Cleveland State University Press) and the limitededition collection Black Buttery, awarded the Center for Book Arts Prize. Vollmer is the recipient of grants from the National Endowment for the Arts and the Pennsylvania Council on the Arts, and residency fellowships from the Corporation of Yaddo and the American Academy in


Rome. She directs the creative writing program at the University of Pittsburgh at Greensburg and with Ed Ochester coedits the poetry journal 5 AM. jeanne murray walker has written six collections, the latest being A Deed to the Light (University of Illinois Press, 2004). Her poems appear in journals such as Poetry, Image, The Gettysburg Review, and The Nation. Among her awards are The Prairie Schooner-Strousse Prize, seven Pennsylvania Council on the Arts Awards, and an nea Fellowship. An Atlantic Monthly Fellow at Bread Loaf School of English, Jeanne was awarded a Pew Fellowship in 1998. She lives in Merion, Pennsylvania, and teaches at the University of Delaware. A University of Pennsylvania graduate, susan weaver is a poet rostered by the Pennsylvania Council on the Arts to teach writing. Her poems have appeared in Juxtaposition, Main Street Rag Literary Journal, Messages from the Heart, Modern Haiku, Womans Way, Survivor, the sociological journal Violence against Women, and elsewhere. Weaver is also a cycling journalist and author of A Womans Guide to Cycling (Ten Speed Press, rev. ed., 1998). She lives in Allentown with her husband, Joseph C. Skrapits, a painter. gabriel welsch s work appears widely, in journals such as Harvard Review, Missouri Review, 5 AM, Mid-American Review, Crab Orchard Review, The Georgia Review, and New Letters. His rst poetry book, Dirt and All Its Dense Labors, is forthcoming from WordTech Editions in 2006. His Pennsylvania pedigree includes a 2003 Pennsylvania Council on the Arts Fellowship; living in Warren, Downingtown, Bellefonte, Milesburg, and State College for twenty-three total years spent in the state; a wife, Jill, from Kittanning; two degrees from Penn State; and a daughter, Isabella, born in the shadow of Mount Nittany. jerry wemple grew up in the central Susquehanna Valley. He is the author of You Can See It from Here (Lotus Press, 2000), which won the annual Naomi Long Madgett Poetry Award. His collection The Civil War in Baltimore won the Word Journal Award and is forthcoming from the Word Press Poetry Series. A recipient of a Pennsylvania Council on the Arts Fellowship in literature, Wemple has published poetry, creative nonction, and reviews in numerous journals. He is an associate professor of English at Bloomsburg University.


patricia jabbeh wesley immigrated with her family to the United States during the Liberian civil war, and settled in Michigan for several years. She is the author of two books of poetry: Before the Palm Could Bloom: Poems of Africa (New Issues Press, Western Michigan University, 1998) and Becoming Ebony (Southern Illinois University Press, 2003), a 2002 Crab Orchard Award Series winner. Her work has appeared in many literary journals and magazines. In 2003, Patricia and her husband and children moved to western Pennsylvania where she teaches English and creative writing at Indiana University of Pennsylvania. daniel J. wideman s extended family has lived in Homewood, an African American community in Pittsburgh, for four generations. His rst volume of poetry, Three Riversan homage to his family and the Homewood community, from which the poems in this anthology are drawnwill be published by Big Drum Press in 2005. He is coeditor of Soulres: Young Black Men on Love and Violence (Penguin, 1996), and is currently working on a novel and a second volume of poetry. Mr. Wideman gathered splinters as a backup point guard at Brown University; he has also studied in England at the University of Londons School of Oriental and African Studies and at Northwestern University. He has served as writer in residence at the DuBois Pan-African Cultural Centre in Accra, Ghana, and at the Sonja Haynes Stone Center for Black Culture at the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill. His work has appeared recently in the journal Callaloo and in the anthologies Giant Steps: The New Generation of African-American Writers, Step into a World: A Global Anthology of the New Black Literature, Outside the Law: Narratives of Justice in America, and Black Texts and Textuality. He lives in Durham, North Carolina.



Abington: Sherry Fairchok, What They Wanted Us to Bring Back, 64 Ackerman, Diane, Lines Written in a Pittsburgh Skyscraper, 147 Alexander, Elizabeth, Preliminary Sketches: Philadelphia, 25 Alleghenies: Barbara Crooker, Me n Bruce Springsteen Take My Baby Off to College, 9; David Staudt, White Tent in the Alleghenies, 204; Jeanne Murray Walker, Coming East from Cleveland to Philadelphia at Harvest, 6; Daniel J. Wideman, Slaving, 161. See also section VI, North by Northwest: The Alleghenies and Erie Allegheny County: Marjorie Maddox, Pennsylvania September: The Witnesses, 186 Allegheny River: Diane Ackerman, Lines Written in a Pittsburgh Skyscraper, 147; Sharon F. McDermott, The History of Summer, 224; Gabriel Welsch, Pennsylvania, 3; Daniel J. Wideman, Slaving, 161 Allegheny, train stop: E. A. Miller, Altoona, 181 Allentown: Karen Blomain, Bombogenesis, 96; Barbara Crooker, Me n Bruce Springsteen Take My Baby Off to College, 9; Paul Martin, Gallivanting, 95 Altoona: E. A. Miller, Altoona, 181 Amish and Mennonites: Juanita Brunk, Papaya: Lancaster County, 39; Ann Hostetler, Female Ancestor, 36; Julia Kasdorf, Mennonites, 35; Janet Kauffman, Mennonite Farm Wife, 36; Sandra Kohler, In the Small World, 33; Marjorie Maddox, Buggy Ride at Sixteen, 38; David Swerdlow, After Tithonus and Aurora, Thoughts on a Life of Work, 199; Philip Terman, The Auctioneer, 218 Anderson, Maggie: Closed Mill, 163; Gray, 177 anthracite: Thomas Kielty Blomain, So the Coal Was Gone, 69; Barbara Crooker, Christ Comes to Centralia, 59; Sherry Fairchok, Ode to Coal, 55; Jay Parini, Working the Face, 66. See also anthracite region anthracite region: Karen Blomain, The Miners Wife Leaves Home, 68; Thomas Kielty Blomain, So the Coal Was Gone, 69; Barbara Crooker, Me n Bruce Springsteen Take My Baby off to College, 9; Craig Czury, Coalscape, 56; Craig Czury, March 10, 1951,

71; James Hoch, Coal Crackers, 57; Harry Humes, Deer, 102; Dan Maguire, Hawk Falls, 90; W. S. Merwin, Burning Mountain, 58; Ann E. Michael, Sprawl, 89; Jason Moser, We Never Leave, 87; Peter Oresick, Family Portrait, 1933, 65; Jay Parini, Coal Train, 67; Jay Parini, Working the Face, 66; Linda Tomol Pennisi, The Field (an Excerpt), 78; Len Roberts, In Cursive, 83; Len Roberts, Spring Peepers, April, Wassergass, 85; Helen Ruggieri, Bones & Ashes, 72; Betsy Sholl, Real Faux Pearls, 79. See also mines, mine res Apollo: JoAnne Growney, Apollo Is a Pink Town, 185 Aristes: Linda Tomol Pennisi, The Strippings, 73 Arkton: Kirk Nesset, Bullet Shell Heart, 202 Armstrong County: JoAnne Growney, Apollo Is a Pink Town, 185 Ashland, train stop: E. A. Miller, Altoona, 181 Aubudon nature preserve (Beechwood Farm): Sharon F. McDermott, Aubudons Nature Preserve, Fox Chapel, 167 Bainbridge Street, Philadelphia: David Livewell, Philly Things, 15 baseball. See sports Beatty, Jan, Pittsburgh Poem, 155 Beaver Falls: W. D. Snodgrass, Home Town, 183 Becker, Robin, The Poconos, 100 Becker, Robin, Spiritual Morning, 31 Becker, Robin, The Star Show, 28 Beechwood Boulevard, Pittsburgh: Gerald Stern, The Dancing, 150 Bellefonte: Ginny MacKenzie, Aunt Lena Committed to Bellefonte State Hospital, 129 Belluomini, Michele A., Crazy Mary Rides the El, 20 Benjamin Franklin Bridge: David Livewell, Listening for Bridge Builders, 20 Blomain, Karen, Bombogenesis, 96; Centralia (October 31, 1986), 60; The Miners Wife Leaves Home, 68 Blomain, Thomas Kielty, So the Coal Was Gone, 69 Bloomsburg: JoAnne Growney, The Bloomsburg Fair, 119 Bond, Bruce, Acoustic Shadows, 139 Bond, Bruce, Pleasure Gap, 127 Borczon, Mark S., Driving in Someone Elses Light, 213 Bradford: Steven Huff, Second Coming in Northern Pennsylvania, 197 Brunk, Juanita, Papaya: Lancaster County, 39 Burnham, Deborah, Our Lady of the Cabbages, 26

Burnham, Deborah, Swimming in Lake Erie: Intermediate Beginners, 207 Camp Hill: Julia Kasdorf, Nights Like This, 134 Carbondale: Sherry Fairchock, Ode to Coal, 55 Central Pennsylvania. See section IV, Hills and Ridges: The Susquehanna Valley and Central Pennsylvania Centralia: Karen Blomain, Centralia (October 31, 1986), 60; Barbara Crooker, Christ Comes to Centralia, 59; Sherry Fairchock, Ode to Coal, 55; Valerie Fox, This Is Not My Cousin, 62. See also section III, Circling East: Mines, Mountains, and Mills Chester County: George Fleck, Chester County Winter Day, 31 Chin, David, Route 81, 8 Civil War: Bruce Bond, Acoustic Shadows, 139; Samuel Hazo, Gettysburg, 140; Carmine Sarracino, The Battleeld Museum Guide Speaks, 141 Cleareld County: Ginny MacKenzie, Cleareld County Fair, 118 Clifton, Charles, Buddy Picture, 175 Clintonville: Philip Terman, The Auctioneer, 218 coal. See anthracite, anthracite region, mines, mine res Coaldale: Leonard Kress, Polka Dancing to Eddie Blazonczyk and His Versatones in Coaldale, Pennsylvania, 81 Comann, Brad, Tractor Pull, 221 Conemaugh Valley: Jerry Wemple, Imagining the Johnstown Flood, 178 Cooley, Nicole, Nocturne: Roller Mills Flea Market, 117 Costanzo, Gerald, The Resurrection of Lake Erie, 207 Crooker, Barbara, Christ Comes to Centralia, 59; Me n Bruce Springsteen Take My Baby off to College, 9; Worlds End, 125 Curtin Jr. High School: Gregory Djanikan, Going Back, 115 Custer City: George Fleck, Chester County Winter Day, 31 Czury, Craig, Coalscape, 56; March 10, 1951, 71 dancing. See music and dancing Daniels, Jim, Panther Hollow Bridge, Pittsburgh, 169 Danville: Michael Hardin, Running through Danville State Hospital, 130 DeCesare, Barbara, Dream City, 136 diners and restaurants: George Looney, In a Diner in Franklin, Pennsylvania, 215; Leslie Anne Mcilroy, In Her Mind, Shes Already Quit, 172; Ed Ochester, Miracle Mile, 173 Djanikan, Gregory, Going Back, 115

Dougherty, Sean Thomas, Bus Stop at West 12th Street, 211; In the Old Neighborhood It Begins in the Urgency of Whoever Is Nameless It Pulls the Night Hard in the Hands, 212 driving: Mark S. Borczon, Driving in Someone Elses Light, 213; Charles Clifton, Buddy Picture, 175; Gregory Djanikan, Going Back, 115; Steven Huff, Second Coming in Northern Pennsylvania, 197; Kristin Kovacic, Leaving Pittsburgh, 176; Jeffrey Oaks, My Father Likes Pittsburgh, 152; Ed Ochester, Miracle Mile, 173; Philip Terman, The Auctioneer, 218; Philip Terman, Meditation in Oil City, PA,217. See also section I, Greetings from the Commonwealth! DuBois: Antonio Vallone, Jacklighting, 203 Elderton: Ed Ochester, Memorial Day, Elderton, Pennsylvania, 182 El train, Philadelphia: Michele A. Belluomini, Crazy Mary Rides the El, 20; Lynn Levin, If You Are Reading This, 24; David Livewell, Philly Things, 15; Leonard Kress, Spiritual Exercise, Kensington, Philadelphia, 22 Emanuel, Lynn, Desire, 168 Erie : Sean Thomas Dougherty, Bus Stop at West 12th Street, 211; Sean Thomas Dougherty, In the Old Neighborhood It Begins in the Urgency of Whoever Is Nameless It Pulls the Night Hard in the Hands, 212; John Repp, Yet, 209. See also Lake Erie, and section VI, North by Northwest: The Alleghenies and Erie Erie Lackawanna Railroad: Jay Parini, Coal Train, 67 Exeter, mines: Anthony Petrosky, Photograph, 73 factories: Gary Fincke, Class A, Salem, the Rookie League, 160; Ruth Ellen Kocher, Susquehanna: The Projects, 77; Matthew Perakovich, Laid Off in July, 131; Judith Vollmer, Spill, 166; Jerry Wemple, Cousin Will You Take My Hand?, 74; Daniel J. Wideman, Slaving, 161. See also mills, steel, work Fairchok, Sherry, Ode to Coal, 55; What They Wanted Us to Bring Back, 64 farming: Brad Comann, Tractor Pull, 221; Ann Hostetler, Female Ancestor, 36; Julia Kasdorf, Mennonites, 35; Janet Kaufman, Mennonite Farm Wife, 36; Sandra Kohler, In the Small World, 33; Marjorie Maddox, Pennsylvania September: The Witnesses, 186; Ed Ochester, Memorial Day, Elderton, Pennsylvania, 182; Linda Tomol Pennisi, The Field (an Excerpt), 78; Linda Tomol

Pennisi, The Strippings, 73; Philip Terman, The Auctioneer, 218; Jeanne Murray Walker, Coming East from Cleveland to Philadelphia at Harvest, 6 Fayette County: Luise van Keuren, Spring: Fayette County, PA, 189 Feasterville: Lynn Levin, If You Are Reading This, 24 Federal Hill: Carmine Sarracino, The Idea of the Ordinary, 49 Fels Planetarium: Robin Becker, The Star Show, 28 Fincke, Gary, The Agnes Mark, 111; Class A, Salem, the Rookie League, 160 shing: See outdoor life Fifth Street, Philadelphia: Deborah Burnham, Our Lady of the Cabbages, 26 Fifteenth Street, Philadelphia: Michele A. Belluomini, Crazy Mary Rides the El, 20 Fleck, George, Chester County Winter Day, 31 ood: Maggie Anderson, Gray, 177; Gary Fincke, The Agnes Mark, 111; Julia Kasdorf, Mennonites, 35; Charles J. Rice, Cousins, 109; W. D. Snodgrass, Flash Flood, 179; Jerry Wemple, Imagining the Johnstown Flood, 178 football. see sports Ford City: Peter Oresick, One of Many Bars in Ford City, Pennsylvania, 165 Fort Pitt Tunnel: Jeffrey Oaks, My Father Likes Pittsburgh, 152 Fox Chapel: Sharon F. McDermott, Audubons Nature Preserve, Fox Chapel, 167 Fox, Valerie, This Is Not My Cousin, 62 Frackville: Peter Oresick, The Jeweler, 78 Franklin: George Looney, In a Diner in Franklin, Pennsylvania, 215; Sharon McDermott, The History of Summer, 224; Philip Terman, Meditation in Oil City, PA, 217 Freedom, Pennsylvania: Charles Clifton, Buddy Picture, 175 Frick Art and Historical Center: Jeffrey Oaks, My Father Likes Pittsburgh, 152 Germantown: Robin Hiteshew, Potters Field, Germantown, 45; Maxine Kumin, Halfway, 43; Gerald Stern, In Carpenters Woods, 42 Gettysburg: Bruce Bond, Acoustic Shadows, 139; Samuel Hazo, Gettysburg, 140; Carmine Sarracino, The Battleeld Museum Guide Speaks, 141 Girardville: Harry Humes, Showing a Friend My Town, 70

groundhogs: Robin Becker, Spiritual Morning, 31; W. S. Merwin, Burning Mountain, 58; Shirley S. Stevens, On Gobblers Knob, 224; Philip Terman, If We Were as Brilliant as Groundhogs, 222 Growney, JoAnne, Apollo Is a Pink Town, 185; The Bloomsburg Fair, 119 Hadley: Sharon F. McDermott, The History of Summer, 224 Hardin, Michael, Running through Danville State Hospital, 130 Harrisburg and area: Julia Kasdorf, Nights Like This, 134; Robert Small, Harrisburg Echoes (Excerpts), 133 Hayes, Ann, Steelers! Steelers! Steelers!, 158 Hazo, Samuel, Gettysburg, 140 Hellerstein, Kathryn, The Map, 5 Hershey, Milton: Carmine Sarracino, Twelve Facts about the Immigrants: A Prose Poem, 138 Hiteshew, Robin, Potters Field, Germantown, 45 Hoch, James, Coal Crackers, 57 holidays and celebrations: Bruce Bond, Pleasure Gap, 127; Leonard Kress, Rowers on the Schuylkill, 18; Ann E. Michael, Easter Sunday, Seisholtzville, 86; Ed Ochester, Memorial Day, Elderton, Pennsylvania, 182; Len Roberts, Climbing the Three Hills in Search of the Best Christmas Tree, 92 Homewood: Daniel J. Wideman, Integration (Kennywood Park, June 1963), 151 Hornell: Kirk Nesset, Bullet Shell Heart, 202 Horseshoe Curve: E. A. Miller, Altoona, 181 Hostetler, Ann, Female Ancestor, 36 Huff, Steven, Second Coming in Northern Pennsylvania, 197 Humes, Harry, Deer, 102; Fishing the Little J. Beneath the Methodist Church, 122; Showing a Friend My Town, 70 Hummelstown: Jack Veasey, Three Mile Island Siren, 135 Indiana County: Gerald Stern, Turning into a Pond, 191 interstates, Pennsylvania: David Chin, Route 81, 8; Kathryn Hellerstein, The Map, 5. See also section I, Greetings from the Commonwealth! Johnstown: Maggie Anderson, Gray, 177; E. A. Miller, Altoona, 181; Jerry Wemple, Imagining the Johnstown Flood, 178 Juniata River: Harry Humes, Fishing the Little J. Beneath the Methodist Church, 122; Welsch, Gabriel Pennsylvania, 3 Juniata, train stop: E. A. Miller, Altoona, 181

Kasdorf, Julia, Freight, 113; Mennonites, 35; Nights Like This, 134 Kauffman, Janet, Mennonite Farm Wife, 36 Kensington, Philadelphia: Leonard Kress, Spiritual Exercise, Kensington Philadelphia, 22 Kennywood Park: Daniel J. Wideman, Integration (Kennywood Park, June 1963), 151 Kocher, Ruth Ellen, Susquehanna: The Projects, 77 Koehler Street: Kristin Kovacic, Brick Kohler, Sandra, In the Small World, 33; Naming Heraclitus, 107; Renovo, 112 Kovacic, Kristin, Brick, 156; Kovacic, Kristin, Leaving Pittsburgh, 176 Kress, Leonard, Polka Dancing to Eddie Blazonczyk and His Versatones in Coaldale, Pennsylvania, 81; Rowers on the Schuylkill, 18; Spiritual Exercise, Kensington Philadelphia, 22 Krok, Peter, 10 pm at a Philadelphia Recreation Center, 27 Krumsville: Barbara Crooker, Me n Bruce Springsteen Take My Baby off to College, 9 Kumin, Maxine, Halfway, 43 Kutztown: Barbara Crooker, Me n Bruce Springsteen Take My Baby off to College, 9; Heather Thomas, Route 222: Reading to Kutztown, 48 Lake Erie: Deborah Burnham, Swimming in Lake Erie: Intermediate Beginners, 207; Gerald Costanzo, The Resurrection of Lake Erie, 207; George Looney, Confession Off the Lake, 208. See also Erie Lancaster: Robert Small, Harrisburg Echoes (Excerpts), 133; Nathaniel Smith, A Hill in Pennsylvania, 32 Lancaster County: Juanita Brunk, Papaya: Lancaster County, 39; Carmine Sarracino, The Idea of the Ordinary, 49 Lehigh Street: Paul Martin, A Different House, 82 Lehigh Valley: Steven Myers, J.B. Phones Me at the End of Summer, Asking Where I Find Silence in the Lehigh Valley, 98. See also section III, Circling East: Mines, Mountains, and Mills Lehighton: David Staudt, Lehighton, 94 Lenhartsville: Barbara Crooker, Me n Bruce Springsteen Take My Baby off to College, 9 Levin, Lynn, If You Are Reading This, 24 Lewisburg: Nicole Cooley, Nocturne: Roller Mills Flea Market, 117 Little League: Gregory Djanikan, Going Back, 115; Marjorie Maddox, The Little League World Series: First Play, 115

Livewell, David, Listening for Bridge Builders, 20; Philly Things, 15 Looney, George, Confession Off the Lake, 208; In a Diner in Franklin, Pennsylvania, 215 MacKenzie, Ginny, Aunt Lena Committed to Bellefonte State Hospital, 129; Cleareld County Fair, 118 Maddox, Marjorie, Buggy Ride at Sixteen. 38; The Little League World Series: First Play, 115; Pennsylvania September: The Witnesses, 186 Maguire, Dan, Hawk Falls, 90 Mallon, Helen, Before the Silver Chord Is Loosed, 41 Martin, Paul, A Different House, 82; Gallivanting, 95; The Quarry, 97 McDermott, Sharon F., Aubudons Nature Preserve, Fox Chapel, 167; The History of Summer, 224 Mcilroy, Leslie Anne, In Her Mind, Shes Already Quit, 172 McKeesport: Maggie Anderson, Closed Mill, 163 Mennonites and Amish. See Amish and Mennonites Merwin, W. S., Burning Mountain, 58 Michael, Ann E., Easter Sunday, Seisholtzville, 86; Sprawl, 89 Miller, E. A., Altoona, 181 mills: Maggie Anderson, Closed Mill, 163; Jan Beatty, Pittsburgh Poem, 155; Sherry Fairchok, What They Wanted Us to Bring Back, 64; Joanne Growney, Apollo Is a Pink Town, 185; Leonard Kress, Spiritual Exercise, Kensington, Philadelphia, 22; Jeffrey Oaks, My Father Likes Pittsburgh, 152; Deirdre OConnor, Bells, 148; Peter Oresick, The Jeweler, 78; Jay Parini, Working the Face, 66; Anthony Petrosky, Photograph, 73; David Staudt, Lehighton,94; Jerry Wemple, Imagining the Johnstown Flood, 178; Daniel J. Wideman, Slaving, 161; see also Factories, and section III Circling East: Mines, Mountains, and Mills mine res: Karen Blomain, Centralia (October 31, 1986), 60; Barbara Crooker, Christ Comes to Centralia, 59; Sherry Fairchock, Ode to Coal, 55; Sherry Fairchok, What They Wanted Us to Bring Back, 64; Valerie Fox, This Is Not My Cousin, 62; W. S. Merwin, Burning Mountain, 58. See also section III, Circling East: Mines, Mountains, and Mills Minersville: Leonard Kress, Polka Dancing to Eddie Blazonczyk and His Versatones in Coaldale, Pennsylvania, 81 mines: Marjorie Maddox, Pennsylvania September: The Witnesses, 186; Luise van Keuren, Spring: Fayette County, PA, 189. See also

anthracite, anthracite region, mine res, and section III, Circling East: Mines, Mountains, and Mills Moffats Breaker: Sherry Fairchok, What They Wanted Us to Bring Back, 64 Mohring, Ron, The Company We Keep, 123 Monongahela River: Barbara Crooker, Me n Bruce Springsteen Drive My Baby off to College, 9 Monongahela Valley: Maggie Anderson, Gray, 177 Monroeville: Ed Ochester, Miracle Mile, 173; Gabriel Welsch, Pennsylvania, 3 Monroeville Mall: Ed Ochester, Miracle Mile, 173 Moore, Berwyn, Mountain Night, 206 Moravians: Jason Moser, We Never Leave, 87 Moser, Jason, We Never Leave, 87 Moses Taylor Hospital: Sherry Fairchok, What They Wanted Us to Bring Back, 64 Mount Airy: Sonia Sanchez, A Poem for a Black Boy, 30 museums: Robin Becker, Star Show, 28; Sandra Kohler, In the Small World, 33; Jeffrey Oaks, My Father Likes Pittsburgh, 152; Carmine Sarracino, The Battleeld Museum Guide Speaks, 141 music and dancing: Sean Thomas Dougherty, Bus Stop at West 12th Street, 211; Sean Thomas Dougherty, In the Old Neighborhood It Begins in the Urgency of Whoever Is Nameless It Pulls the Night Hard in the Hands, 212; Leonard Kress, Polka Dancing to Eddie Blazonczyk and His Versatones in Coaldale, Pennsylvania, 81; Jeffrey Oaks, My Father Likes Pittsburgh, 152; Sonia Sanchez, Listening to Jimmy Garrison (Pittsburgh, Pa.) 149; Gerald Stern, The Dancing, 150; Shirley Stevens, On Gobblers Knob, 224; Michael Teig, When I Looked Next, 198 Myers, Steven, J.B. Phones Me at the End of Summer, Asking Where I Find Silence in the Lehigh Valley, 98 Native Americans: Robin Becker, The Poconos, 100; Jason Moser, We Never Leave, 87; Jeffrey Oaks, My Father Likes Pittsburgh, 152; Karl Patten, November Textures, 108 Nesset, Kirk, Bullet Shell Heart, 202 Northwest Pennsylvania: Mark S. Borczon, Driving in Someone Elses Light, 213; Brad Comann, Tractor Pull, 221; Berwyn Moore, Mountain Night, 206; Michael Teig, When I Looked Next, 198. See also section VI, North by Northwest: The Alleghenies and Erie

Oaks, Jeffrey, My Father Likes Pittsburgh, 152 Ochester, Ed, Miracle Mile, 173; Memorial Day, Elderton, Pennsylvania, 182 OConnor, Deirdre, Bells, 148; My Grandfathers Cronies, 157 Oresick, Peter, Family Portrait, 1933, 65; The Jeweler, 78; One of Many Bars in Ford City, Pennsylvania, 165 outdoor life : Robin Becker, The Poconos, 100; Robin Becker, Spiritual Morning, 31; Deborah Burnham, Swimming in Lake Erie: Intermediate Beginners, 207; Barbara Crooker, Worlds End, 125; Harry Humes, Deer, 102; Harry Humes, Fishing the Little J. Beneath the Methodist Church, 122; Sandra Kohler, Naming Heraclitus, 107; Dan Maguire, Hawk Falls, 90; Paul Martin, The Quarry, 97; Sharon F. McDermott, Audubons Nature Preserve, Fox Chapel, 167; Ann E. Michael, Sprawl, 89; Ron Mohring, The Company We Keep, 123; Berwyn Moore, Mountain Night, 206; Steven Myers, J.B. Phones Me at the End of Summer, Asking Where I Find Silence in the Lehigh Valley, 98; Karl Patten, November Textures, 108; Len Roberts, Climbing the Three Hills in Search of the Best Christmas Tree, 92; Len Roberts, Spring Peepers, April, Wassergass, 85; David Staudt, White Tent in the Alleghenies, 204; Gerald Stern, In Carpenters Woods, 42; Gerald Stern, Turning into a Pond, 191; Antonio Vallone, Jacklighting, 203; Luise van Keuren, Spring: Fayette County, PA, 189; Jeanne Murray Walker, Coming East from Cleveland to Philadelphia at Harvest, 6; Susan Weaver, Winter Walks, Perry County, 126; Patricia Jabbeh Wesley, This Hill Will Get You There, 190. See also sports Packer Island: Charles J. Rice, Cousins, 109 Palmerton: Paul Martin, A Different House, 82 Pancoast Mine: Sherry Fairchok, What They Wanted Us to Bring Back, 64 Panther Hollow Bridge, Pittsburgh: Jim Daniels, Panther Hollow Bridge, Pittsburgh, 169 Parini, Jay, Coal Train, 67; Working the Face, 66 Patten, Karl, November Textures, 108 Penn Center: Lynn Levin, If You Are Reading This, 24 Pennisi, Linda Tomol, The Field (an Excerpt), 78; The Strippings, 73 Penn Run: Gerald Stern, Turning into a Pond, 191 Penns Creek: Gary Fincke, The Agnes Mark, 111

Pennsylvania Dutch/Dutch: Robin Becker, Spiritual Morning, 31; Jason Moser, We Never Leave, 87; Jeffrey Oaks, My Father Likes Pittsburgh, 152; Carmine Sarracino, The Idea of the Ordinary, 49; Philip Terman, The Auctioneer, 218. See also Amish and Mennonites, and section II, Beginnings: Philadelphia, Dutch Country, and Their Environs Perakovich, Matthew, Laid Off in July, 131 Perry County: Susan Weaver, Winter Walks, Perry County, 126 Petrosky, Anthony, Photograph, 73 Philadelphia: Elizabeth Alexander, Preliminary Sketches: Philadelphia, 25; Robin Becker, Spiritual Morning, 31; Robin Becker, The Star Show, 28; Michele A. Belluomini, Crazy Mary Rides the El, 20; Deborah Burnham, Our Lady of the Cabbages, 26; Leonard Kress, Rowers on the Schuylkill, 18; Peter Krok, 10 pm at a Philadelphia Recreation Center, 27; Lynn Levin, If You Are Reading This, 24; David Livewell, Listening for Bridge Builders, 20; David Livewell, Philly Things, 15; Leonard Kress, Spiritual Exercise, Kensington, Philadelphia, 22; Sonia Sanchez, A Poem for a Black Boy, 30; Jeanne Murray Walker, Colors, 17; Jeanne Murray Walker, Coming East from Cleveland to Philadelphia at Harvest, 6S see also section II, Beginnings: Philadelphia, Dutch Country, and Their Environs Pine Creek: Gary Fincke, The Agnes Mark, 111 Pittsburgh: Diane Ackerman, Lines Written in a Pittsburgh Skyscaper, 147; Jan Beatty, Pittsburgh Poem, 155; Barbara Crooker, Me n Bruce Springsteen Take My Baby off to College, 9; Jim Daniels, Panther Hollow Bridge, Pittsburgh, 169; Lynn Emanuel, Desire, 168; Gary Fincke, Class A, Salem, the Rookie League, 160; Ann Hayes, Steelers! Steelers! Steelers!, 158; Kristin Kovacic, Leaving Pittsburgh, 176; Jeffrey Oaks, My Father Likes Pittsburgh, 152; Ed Ochester, Miracle Mile, 173; Deirdre OConnor, Bells, 148; Deirdre OConnor, My Grandfathers Cronies, 157; Sonia Sanchez, Listening to Jimmy Garrison (Pittsburgh, Pa.), 149; Gerald Stern, The Dancing, 150; Judith Vollmer, Listening to Birds after a Mild Winter, 166; Judith Vollmer, Spill, 166; see also section V Southwestern Pennsylvania: The Three Rivers Region and the Laurel Highlands Pittsburgh Steelers (football team): Ann Hayes, Steelers! Steelers! Steelers!, 158

Poconos: Robin Becker, The Poconos, 100 Potter County: David Staudt, White Tent in the Alleghenies, 204 Punxsutawney: Shirley S. Stevens, On Gobblers Knob, 224 Quaker Woods: David Livewell, Philly Things, 15 Quakers: Helen Mallon, Before the Silver Chord Is Loosed, 41; Betsy Sholl, Back with the Quakers, 40 race relations and racism: Jerry Wemple, Awl Street, 132; Jerry Wemple, Cousin, Will You Take My Hand?, 74; Sonia Sanchez, A Poem for a Black Boy, 30; Daniel J. Wideman, Integration (Kennywood Park, June 1963), 151; Daniel J. Wideman, Slaving, 161 Race Street, Philadelphia: David Livewell, Philly Things, 15 racing: Elizabeth Alexander, Preliminary Sketches: Philadelphia, 25; David Staudt, Racetrack Downriver, 121 railroads. see trains and railroads Reading: Heather Thomas, Route 222: Reading to Kutztown, 48; Heather Thomas, Wallace Stevens House Prayer, 46; Jerry Wemple, Cousin, Will You Take My Hand?, 74 Renovo: Sandra Kohler, Renovo, 112 Repp, John, Yet, 209 Rice, Charles J., Cousins, 109 Roberts, Len, Climbing the Three Hills in Search of the Best Christmas Tree, 92; In Cursive, 83; Spring Peepers, April, Wassergass, 85 Route 61: Valerie Fox, This Is Not My Cousin, 62 Ruchsville Hotel: Paul Martin, The Quarry, 97 Ruggieri, Helen, Bones & Ashes, 72 Sanchez, Sonia, Listening to Jimmy Garrison (Pittsburgh, Pa.), 149; A Poem for a Black Boy, 30 Sarracino, Carmine, The Battleeld Museum Guide Speaks, 141; The Idea of the Ordinary, 49; Twelve Facts about the Immigrants: A Prose Poem, 138 Schuylkill River: Leonard Kress, Rowers on the Schuylkill, 18; Jeanne Murray Walker, Colors, 17 Scranton: Peter Oresick, The Jeweler, 78; Robert Small, Harrisburg Echoes (Excerpts), 133; Gabriel Welsch, Pennsylvania, 6 Seisholtzville: Ann E. Michael, Easter Sunday, Seisholtzville, 86 Selinsgrove, speedway: David Staudt, Racetrack.Downriver, 121 Shamokin: Jerry Wemple, Cousin, Will You Take My Hand?, 74

Shanksville: Marjorie Maddox, Pennsylvania September: The Witnesses, 186 Shenandoah: Sherry Fairchock, Ode to Coal, 55 Shillington: John Updike, Shillington, 47 Sholl, Betsy, Back with the Quakers, 40; Real Faux Pearls, 79 shopping: Nicole Cooley, Nocturne: Roller Mills Flea Market, 117; Paul Martin, Gallivanting, 95; Ed Ochester, Miracle Mile, 173 Small, Robert, Harrisburg Echoes (Excerpts), 133 Smith, Nathaniel, A Hill in Pennsylvania, 32 Snodgrass, W. D., Flash Flood, 179; Home Town, 183 Somerset County: Marjorie Maddox, Pennsylvania September: The Witnesses, 186 Southwestern Pennsylvania. See section V, The Three Rivers Region and the Laurel Highlands sports: Deborah Burnham, Our Lady of the Cabbages, 26; Deborah Burnham, Swimming in Lake Erie: Intermediate Beginners, 207; Sean Thomas Dougherty, In the Old Neighborhood It Begins in the Urgency of Whoever Is Nameless It Pulls the Night Hard in the Hands, 212; Gregory Djanikan, Going Back, 115; Gary Fincke, Class A, Salem, the Rookie League, 160; Ann Hayes, Steelers! Steelers! Steelers!, 158; Peter Krok, 10 pm at a Philadelphia Recreation Center, 27; Marjorie Maddox, The Little League World Series: First Play, 115; Peter Oresick, The Jeweler, 78; David Staudt, Lehighton, 94. See also outdoor life Spruce Street, Philadelphia: Elizabeth Alexander, Preliminary Sketches: Philadelphia, 25 Staudt, David, Lehighton, 94; Racetrack.Downriver, 121; White Tent in the Alleghenies, 204 steel: Maggie Anderson, Gray, 177; Jan Beatty, Pittsburgh Poem, 155; Barbara Crooker, Me n Bruce Springsteen Drive My Baby off to College, 9; JoAnne Growney, Apollo Is a Pink Town, 185; Jeffrey Oaks, My Father Likes Pittsburgh, 152; Deirdre OConnor, My Grandfathers Cronies, 157; Philip Terman, Meditation in Oil City, PA, 217; Gabriel Welsch, Pennsylvania, 3; see also Factories Stern, Gerald, The Dancing, 150; In Carpenters Woods, 42; Turning into a Pond, 191 Stevens, Shirley S., On Gobblers Knob, 224 Strasburg, Pennsylvania, museum: Sandra Kohler, In the Small World, 33 Stroehmans Bakery: Julia Kasdorf, Nights Like This, 134

Sunbury: Jerry Wemple, Awl Street, 132 Susquehanna County: Ruth Ellen Kocher, Susquehanna: The Projects, 77 Susquehanna River: Gary Fincke, The Agnes Mark, 111; Sandra Kohler, Naming Heraclitus, 107; Ron Mohring, The Company We Keep, 123; Karl Patten, November Textures, 108; Charles J. Rice, Cousins, 109; David Staudt, Racetrack Downriver, 121; Gabriel Welsch, Pennsylvania, 3. See also Susquehanna Valley Susquehanna Valley. See section IV, Hills and Ridges: The Susquehanna Valley and Central Pennsylvania Swerdlow, David, After Tithonus and Aurora, Thoughts on a Life of Work, 199 Taylor: Sherry Fairchok, What They Wanted Us to Bring Back, 64 Teig, Michael, When I Looked Next, 198 Terman, Philip, The Auctioneer, 218; If We Were as Brilliant as Groundhogs, 222; Meditation in Oil City, PA, 217 Thomas, Heather, Route 222: Reading to Kutztown, 48; Wallace Stevens House Prayer, 46 Thompson Street, Philadelphia: David Livewell, Philly Things, 15 Three Mile Island: Jack Veasey, Three Mile Island Siren, 135 Throop: Sherry Fairchok, What They Wanted Us to Bring Back, 64 trains and railroads: Karen Blomain, The Miners Wife Leaves Home, 68; Craig Czury, Coalscape, 56; Jim Daniels, Panther Hollow Bridge, Pittsburgh, 169; Sherry Fairchok, Ode to Coal, 55; Ann Hostetler, Female Ancestor, 36; Julia Kasdorf, Freight, 113; Sandra Kohler, In the Small World, 33; E. A. Miller, Altoona, 181; Jay Parini, Coal Train, 67; Linda Tomol Pennisi, The Field (an Excerpt), 78; Charles J. Rice, Cousins, 109; Robert Small, Harrisburg Echoes (Excerpts), 133; W. D. Snodgrass, Flash Flood, 179; see also El train Turner Street, Philadelphia: David Livewell, Philly Things, 15 Updike, John, Shillington, 47 Vallone, Antonio, Jacklighting, 203 van Keuren, Luise, Spring: Fayette County, PA,189 Veasey, Jack, Three Mile Island Siren, 135 Vollmer, Judith, Listening to Birds after a Mild Winter, 166; Spill, 166 Walker, Jeanne Murray, Colors, 17; Coming East from Cleveland to

Philadelphia at Harvest, 6 Wassergass: Len Roberts, Climbing the Three Hills in Search of the Best Christmas Tree, 92; Len Roberts, In Cursive, 83; Len Roberts, Spring Peepers, April, Wassergass, 85 Weaver, Susan, Winter Walks, Perry County, 126 Welsch, Gabriel, Pennsylvania, 3 Wemple, Jerry, Awl Street, 132; Cousin Will You Take My Hand?, 74; Imagining the Johnstown Flood, 178 Wesley, Patricia Jabbeh, This Hill Will Get You There, 190 West Almond: Kirk Nesset, Bullet Shell Heart, 202 West Chester, Pennsylvania: Nathaniel Smith, A Hill in Pennsylvania, 32 Wideman, Daniel J., Slaving, 161; Integration (Kennywood Park, June 1963), 151 Williamsport: Gregory Djanikan, Going Back, 115; Julia Kasdorf, Freight, 113; Marjorie Maddox, The Little League World Series: First Play, 115 Wilkes-Barre: Robert Small, Harrisburg Echoes (Excerpts), 133 Wilsons Hill Bruce: Bond, Acoustic Shadows, 139 Worlds End State Park: Barbara Crooker, Worlds End, 125 work: George Looney, In a Diner in Franklin, Pennsylvania, 215; Leslie Anne Mcilroy, In Her Mind, Shes Already Quit, 172; David Swerdlow, After Tithonus and Aurora, Thoughts on a Life of Work, 199; Michael Teig, When I Looked Next, 198; Judith Vollmer, Listening to Birds after a Mild Winter, 166; Jerry Wemple, Awl Street, 132; see also Farming, Mills, Factories, Steel York: Barbara DeCesare, Dream City, 136; Robert Small, Harrisburg Echoes (Excerpts), 133