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Clean Coal Burn belongs in the tradition of James Wright, whose poems of coal mines and slag heaps nevertheless reveal love of a scarred but resilient land. In these poems beauty is found in unlikely places such as the haze over a corn field or the words of a man whose throat has been destroyed by black lung disease but who writes that there is beauty in the afterbirth of a sheep which steams in the spring snow “as if the land were alive.” While there is death—of miners or parents—there is also resurrection—in the new growth and new generations.

                         Deborah Fleming

Some Birds Nest in Broken Branches

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          "It's been a year," I say, reaching for the switch.

          "No," you say from the edge of our bed where you sit staring at the window.

          "Please," I whisper. "I need . . . ."

          "No," you say again.

          I lower my hand and leave the ceiling fan on for the three hundred sixty-fifth day in a row, not for the breeze that cools our bodies as we sleep fitfully each night, but because it makes the drapes move ever so slightly, as if our daughter still giggling behind them the way she did the last time we all played "Hide and Seek" together.

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