There is an Eden everywhere, I know,
but I like to think I know that the real Eden
rests in the hollers of Tennessee.
Or maybe even in the gentle rise
and fall of Missouri—that once dead state
now understood to be full of life.
In Knoxville, limestone becomes marble
while Columbia turns corn to white rock—
whole fields of meerschaum level out
like the final gasp of a bellow.
I rode the last of that Midwestern breath to the North,
to Alaska. I swapped the rise of Appalachia
and the fold of the Ozark Plateau for ice and spruce.
And now, it comes to this—
becoming a prodigal far away in Fairbanks
where I spurned the South in hope of something more—
always more, and more is less and less,
I know that now, here, in this frozen Gethsemane
and all I can think to do, is beg.
Chris Petruccelli is the author of the chapbook Action at a Distance (Etchings Press). His poetry has appeared in Appalachian Heritage, Cider Press Review, Nashville Review, Still: The Journal, and elsewhere. In his free time, Chris enjoys drinking whiskey and smoking cigarettes with older women.