For J. E. B.

The Blue Ridges of Appalachia fold around us, as we become mimicry along the banks of the French Broad River, the landscape making anticlines of our bodies. We fault, converge into a décollement, as the sun sinks and turns the sky Hermitage — a warmth in that flash of pastel green. It is my last night in Tennessee and there is no moon, only the endless cantata of Vega and the bustle of an ancient river — older than the earth it cuts into infinite pieces. I never thought I could make this place home, only to do so in Johnson City in the arms of a woman who held so much of me — our hands full with the hills we made of each other.

Christopher Petruccelli