The Places We Inherit Aren’t Always The Places We Live by Vivian Wagner

We had a little trailer,
towed it on the freeway,
parked it among piñon pines on
ten acres in the high Sierra.
They’re mine now,
this square of Cold War metal, this land.
After almost fifty years
the trailer’s falling into Itself,
the piñons drying, dying with the
dual poison of heat and no snow.
I want to witness what’s happening to this
place where the ghost of myself
as a young child still wanders
the forest with her father, laughing,
exploring trails and fence lines,
but I live in distant woods of
maples and oaks with no knowledge
of regions west, the few remaining winter
leaves shivering into their own blind future.

Vivian Wagner is an associate professor of English at Muskingum University in New Concord, Ohio. She’s the author of a memoir, Fiddle: One Woman, Four Strings, and 8,000 Miles of Music (Citadel-Kensington), and a poetry collection, The Village (Aldrich Press-Kelsay Books). You can find her at or on Twitter @vwagner