ABBIE J. LEAVENS

I could not find you,
you had some kind of nerve—
Did you know I was coming to save you?

A wood-burning stove, a freezer
of meat, the wet
sweet smell of dirt.

Rows of canned beans, a cellar
stuck shut. Relentless mosquitos
zapped to their death.

Us kids worried we’d go deep
in those woods, never
to be found again.

But you shook your head, no—
said no length we could go to disappear,
to lose our way back.

I found you there, beside
the bluebells. I find you there, still.

I wish he had not hurt you.
I wish we were not taught to love him.

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