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121st Weekly Poetry Contest winner: Leaving West Virginia

by Sarah Russell

The road curls snug against the hills,
dips into hollows, rises up through stands
of oak, rough against dun clouds
that promise snow.

Old Jimmy waves goodbye, and Maude
is backlit in the door.  Homesick starts here
on this gravel road, I guess -- nuzzling deep
in sun-sweet quilts, an owl keeping himself
company at midnight, clanking the old stove
to life come morning.

The world is raw, waiting where the road
goes flat and blurs in a rush to get somewhere.  
I watched for dawn this morning, breathless to be gone.
Now I want to salt away this place the way it is,
the way I was.

                        First published in Kentucky Review

See all the entrants to 121st Weekly Poetry Contest