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by Emry Trantham

I still hold my breath going through the dark
of a tunnel, through a mountain somebody’s granddaddy
blasted hollow so as to make space for this black

and yellow asphalt trail. The dark in the bowel
of granite isn’t the dark of a new moon
or a well-tied blindfold. It’s dark that’s meant to be

dark, that is but dulled by my grim unblinking
headlights. It is the dark of space where there ought
to be mass and the gravity of condensed millennia,

and I may wish on every exit, but the breath-
holding isn’t so much to turn a fortune as it is
to keep that dark on the outside of me

and on the inside of the Blue Ridge. So as not
to consume the spirit of the mountain itself.
I will breathe my breaths where I’m meant to

and let the mountain keep what it will.

Emry Trantham is an English teacher in Western North Carolina, where she is raising three daughters and writing poems. Her poetry has been published or is forthcoming in Tar River Poetry, Cold Mountain Review, Noble Gas Qtrly, Cider Press Review, and others. She is also a 2019 Gilbert-Chappell Emerging Poet.

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