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A Quarterly Journal
Jeffrey Woodward, Founder & General Editor
Volume 7, Number 4, December 2013

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Marge Piercy
Cape Cod, Massachusetts


There Were No Mountains in Detroit

When I was a child, my parents would drive to Ebensburg, Pennsylvania in soft coal country in the Appalachians a couple of times a year, often just as summer was ending. My father had grown up there and his sisters still lived in the narrow house resembling a red brick tombstone that stretched back from the highway where trucks groaned up the steep hill all night making me think of dinosaurs in books. I was never comfortable there, feeling alien, feeling very Jewish and judged, but I loved the mountains. When we left for home with my father at the wheel, early in the morning to reach Detroit the same day, there would always be fog, low clouds along the twisty highway. My father drove fast past the company coal towns, past the rock faces often stained with rust, the abandoned coke ovens, the mine entrances that looked foreboding where my uncle and second and third cousins worked under the mountains, the occasional stream dashing itself against rocks, the dark forests where my uncle Zimmy hunted deer on Sundays.

A cloud rests on
a mountain’s shoulder: snow’s hand
on the back of fall.

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