When I have nothing to give, and they’re all standing in line, I dream about my hometown: the

consequence of having followed my wanderlust to a warmer place. When I have everything to

give and no one to give it to. Nothing is ever lost that lives in memory. I am a specter floating

over mountains, hollows, and rivers, all brown and grey and green, wandering the backwoods of

Western Pennsylvania. Our house is a ranch-style, cloaked in silvery, uncovered insulation. It

leans into a wooded hill. It’s because my heaven is slightly imperfect. The scent of smoke drifts

across the squat boughs of Douglas firs.

Every concrete porch in the neighborhood has a deer hanging upside-down, dripping blood from

the nose, soon to go to the processor to be made into meat for the winter. It’s because I can’t

afford to buy more bread yet. The ghosts of men long-buried moan in the mines.

A castle in the forest in a little girl’s dream is a treehouse held together with bent nails and

plywood. A spring flows right from the mountain, down the hill in rivulets to the creek, past the

massive willow tree. Violets bloom in a fairy-haunted dell. Seasons shift from cold to warm,

black, and white, to Van Gogh’s garish, autumnal glory.

All of Elizabeth comes out to a field on a sunny day in summer, to have a car show and a picnic-

feast. Jeremy washes a giant black truck. He and his brother grill ribs. Destiny brings chicken

alfredo. I talk and laugh and move from table to table, guzzling coffee in a Styrofoam cup. An

old man says chewing gum is a nasty habit. I avoid him.

What bizarre paradise did this dream drop me in, what weird Elysium-in- a-green- field version of

home was this? I remember less bright days and more being eleven, tasting the dark brew for the

first time.


© Chani Zwibel

 Chani Zwibel is a graduate of Agnes Scott College, was born and raised in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, but now dwells in Marietta, Georgia, with her husband and their dog. She is an associate editor with Madness Muse Press. She enjoys writing poetry after nature walks and daydreaming.

 Recent Publications include:

 Setu April 2018, The Dope Fiend Daily April 16, 2018, Dissident Voice April 8, 2018, Oracle 20/20 April 1, 2018,Advaitam Speaks Literary- Vol. 2 Issue 1-2018 (February 25), Witches and Pagans: Natural Paganism Issue 35, February 2018, Madness Muse Press: Mermaid Mirror: An Anthology of Women Writers, February 2018, The Literary HatchetIssue 19, Jan 2018, Dissident Voice Dec 31, 2017, Ariel Chart Dec 5, 2017, Killjoy litmag #Catastrophe Dec 1, 2017