“Post-Apocalypse Postcard from an Appalachian Chalet”

I’ve got my head next to a granite-strewn stream that gurgles amid sunbeams as if the whole world never went wrong. As if nothing. I’ve got at least two crates of Coca-Cola stashed inside, a pile of Little Debbie Swiss Cake Rolls, all the beef jerky I can eat. A few bears have come by, mostly uninterested, tearing through the old garbage.

There are leaves and mist and no noise except the wind and once in a while, an eerie whine – foxes? ghosts? If I smell the air I can believe. This is where I came in childhood to hide. I loved the fossil rocks jutting at all angles, the tangled mountainsides full of deciduous trees. The butterflies are gone, of course, but the cicadas still hum inside their shells, oblivious.

If only you were here with me. I’m far past the florescent dinosaur mini-golf and Pancake Houses, quiet now, too far from ski lifts and tourist traps to matter. Without traffic, the paved roads all seemed too lonely. If it all dies down, I thought, this is where I’d want my bones, here where the shadow of the mountains falls, in a valley of daffodils, in a chamber of forest so vast the only things to meet me will be wild things.

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About Jeannine Gailey

Jeannine Hall Gailey recently served as the second Poet Laureate of Redmond, Washington. She’s the author of five books of poetry: Becoming the Villainess, She Returns to the Floating World, Unexplained Fevers, The Robot Scientist’s Daughter, and Field Guide to the End of the World, coming from Moon City Press in 2016. Her work has been featured on NPR’s The Writer’s Almanac, Verse Daily, and in The Year’s Best Fantasy and Horror. Her poems have appeared in The American Poetry Review and Prairie Schooner. Her web site is www.webbish6.com.