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In Ashe County, NC
by Tim Peeler

Hills are still paved by pasture grass
and the hiss and roar of travel
has not yet blundered the beauty.

Narrow blue roads twist through
ancient valleys; unlike neighbors
to the west, no writer has imagined

a place that it has never been
to thrust this country out to
those who view people as an experience

and land like a butcher handling
fresh meat. For now, the history resides
in the small down towns and

in the shapes of old churches, in the
way a park can fold out from a hill
between two pristine streams.

A photographer leaves, wanting
to be a fish or a bird here; the poet
leaves in fear that somewhere

a baron with a face like a brick
brings his push pins to this map.

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