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   u n d e r n e a t h    p e n n s y l v a n i a

--- W E S   M U L L E N

She saw it loose out west of Erie, the
rough sod edge, the dotted line barely torn,
but still the gap.  A minute, maybe, a 

single grubbing fingernail through, then moisture and cold when she slipped Pennsylvania over her head.

She could see it all, and she saw it like the underside of a dirty quilt or the sky over a refinery,

only heavier. Then the feeling of space, her reflection in the tile floor, the fat and creeping roots

of Ohio and the long-dry oil pipes down Venango. She thought of Dad, his homemade darkroom

and the Chevy, then her husband who fell down New England like it was a flight of stairs. She could

see Venus through a manhole in Oil City, far above the frozen river, the fast ice like clouds on the Allegheny.

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