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Heritage
by Janice Harris


              When I was seven
              Dad got "the call"
              We sold our quiet-street green home,
              backyard apple trees,
              embodiment of the American Dream
              and moved to borrowed property
              a parsonage, not our own.
              My brother, born that same year,
              never knew neighborhood,
              the new place edged in the distance
              only by one other dwelling.
              But the hills--across the highway,
              beyond the field, compensated,
              a quiet line with no aspirations
              to be their craggy mountain cousins.
              I grew in the spaces,
              free to roam the neighboring woods,
              hindered, sometimes aided, by the expectations
              of a congregation,
              grateful for room to breathe.
              What I am today finds its roots
              in the sweep of that transition.


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Janice Harris lives in Somerset, Kentucky. She is a graduate of Berea College and Eastern Kentucky University. Her writings have appeared in such collections as Appalachian Women's Journal, Kudzu magazine, and Poetry as Prayer: Appalachian Women Speak. She's going to be a grandmother for the first time later this year.

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