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Family Elegy
Cat Terrell

Clouds get bigger above, and this altitude
smells of old books and their worn out pages.
Short trees speckle the mountains here,
but mostly bushes that are skeleton-like
populate the dry earth, reaching upwards with their
singed knuckles and cracking fingertips.
The ground waits for rain: rocks
with millions of husks within them, fossils known to be there
yet never unburied even still.
There is tension and anger and hurt
but not from the dead marine life that haunts these hills.

Rather, these stabbing feelings
come from an odd family of four,
human-like creatures in their flawed demeanors
yet persisting together-ness:
ones who have tried to love each other,
but can't find their way out of Predetermined Essences.
Those traits God gives and
refuses to take away.

The traits are as follows:
a father with cynicism,
a daughter with her father’s judgment,
a son who stows emotion,
and another daughter, with her father's cynicism.
They walk in the crevice of two ancient rocks,
two rocks that hold plenty of dead marine life.

The daughter with her father's judgment
peers at and picks up every blushing stone she sees.

The son picks up large rocks
he will splinter to look for fossils.
The father points out lizards
and kicks clinging ticks off arms and legs.
The other daughter walks briskly
ahead and asks first to turn
around and go back, to leave the crevice.

The rock picking sister of hers overpromises
and her stoic brother underpromises.

Promises don't come easy to her.

It is normal, the lizards scurry
with each new pair of eyes on them,
the fossils remain dead, the conversation
only veers as much the path allows.
No peak,
no river, no loop is reached, but the odd family
finds a buried burlap sack heading home.

The misfitted and frail gather: looking, leaning, hoping.
They all find nothing, as softer earth turns to stone 3 inches deep.
The sack rips and is ripped by the father and the son.
The main path is once again resumed.
And then to home.
Cat Terrell

My name is Cat Terrell, I am 21 years old, and I'm a poet, musician, mathematician, you get the idea. I like writing poetry that evokes very specific images, and I especially like it when the words I happen to choose have a lot of assonance between them. The poems published here are my first ever published anywhere, and most of them revolve around an incidental theme: growing up. When I'm not writing poetry I am spending time with friends, or going on a walk in nature, or reading. I am so grateful for the three poetry courses I took at PCC that expanded my poetry knowledge and subsequent worldview, so thank you to Van Wheeler, Mia Caruso, and Chrys Tobey for being excellent instructors.

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