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Phantoms of Appalachia

You develop a fever,

and become a different person.

That’s the only way I’ve ever known it to work.


You make it to 26, 27, and 

you keep going.

The days will open up,

and nights will fall into place 

at breakneck speed. 

Things will fall from the sky

and harm nothing.


Movement is all you need and you need to keep that right at your heart

because your head will forget it to save yourself, knowing that

catastrophe can be a decadent thing,

and unhappiness a novelty.


If things have to change anyway,

I’d rather it be destruction,

Burn it to the ground in order to begin again.

At least that’s the sentiment I mimic. Something I’ve heard 

throughout some ancient history.


There are so many phantoms in Appalachia,

so many other ways to remain alive,

but I wouldn’t pretend to know what they are.

Again, I mimic the survival I witness.


Rust red river under a blue full moon.


It’s just that I’m so homesick for this place I haven’t been.

Red rust in my veins.

I cut my arm on the horn of a mountain goat,

and that’s what I saw trickling out.


An unseen architect designed you, after all.

I think there’s venom in the red rust,

and there was poison on the horn of the mountain goat.


I hope the sun will drown in the decadence of the red rust blood.

I’ll apologize to everyone. I’ve always wanted to.

I’ll even open myself wide up,

to be everybody’s grave.


Hannah Bolduc is a Philadelphia resident and South Jersey native. She graduated from Rutgers University with a degree in political science. She is a longtime reader and lover of poetry of all kinds. She started writing poetry last March, and is previously unpublished. You can find her on Instagram @hannahbolduc.

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