The Quiet Sickness

In Appalachia the mountains are hungry when dusk settles on November’s month.

In front of you, two distant tail lights disappear into the invisible gray mouth that you are driving into.

For every one person in this county there are a thousand acres, ten thousand trees, one silence so thick that there are signs to warn you of the quiet sickness.

It is easy to become fog here, to move over the wet roads like breath lost on someone who doesn’t feel you closing in on them.

Here, behind a driver’s wheel, it doesn’t matter if you have followed the directions or not, any way you turn, the mountains will swallow you.

It is too dark to see that the cows standing in the fields are cows but you can make out the white spots on the hide.  They don’t move and you have to wonder if they are statues.

You have to wonder if even the heron over the pond is a statue that only moves in the light of day when you drive by just to give you the faint impression that you are alive.

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