Where We Begin: Two Poems

We All Remember (Cabin Kids)

We all remember
the running and playing
how we cursed darkness
and dinner bells,
tumbling in at
dusk’s very
last moment
before the sky
winks the
day goodbye
catching your breath
before the closed cabin
door, waving goodbye and
Johnny, an unassuming boy
hollering have a good night!
buttons burst,
braid unravelled
We all remember
our hair stuck
to our foreheads
the long streams of sweat
dripping down, traveling the
length of our nose,
those ninety-degree
summer nights
in California
We all remember
our parents saying
I wish I could bottle
that energy and sell it!
before ashing in their
beer can,
white flakes
on a

The Old Hometown

There is nothing
I love more
than your morning
stretching out
from the woods
to the sea
pouring in
the trees
lighting up
the forest floor
daring the
people to
stumble from
their trailer doors
for pots of coffee
and eggs down at
the Fisherman’s dock
and for your
California mountain
people drawl over
KCRE radio

My hometown
watches soggy
bottom toddlers
grow up fast,
JR this and JR that

Often people
hit big trees
with their
cars and die

He was a good guy
He was a good guy

We scan the paper
for friends and foe
just drunk and in
the tank or
maybe worse

He was a good guy

Mysterious people
get engaged in the paper
they have their babies
a few months later
their shining faces
from out-of-town
and I think
what are they
running from?
and why here?

They come in
for good jobs
with the city

they leave because
of their good jobs
with the city

They go back to
their own hometowns

As for mine,
save the sunsets
and the sea lions
and the big trees,
their isn’t
much to
speak of—
that’s what
we like to tell
people anyway.

Terah Van Dusen

By Terah Van Dusen

Terah Van Dusen is a poet, essayist, and Postmaster for the United States Postal Service. She lives in Elmira, Oregon (outside of Eugene) and is inspired by hard truths, rock concerts, seafood, sex, intimacy, letter writing, and reading memoirs.

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