He swore at, slapped, and shoved her,
but then he’d always say he loved her—
as if the old words, rightly spoken,
might unbreak the parts he’d broken.
Robert West grew up in the mountains of western North Carolina, in rural Henderson County. His poems have appeared in Asheville Poetry Review, Southern Poetry Review, Poetry, Ted Kooser's syndicated column and website American Life in Poetry, and other venues. His third chapbook, Convalescent, was published by Finishing Line Press in 2011. He teaches at Mississippi State University and lives with his wife and daughter in Starkville—just barely still in the Appalachia Regional Commission's definition of Appalachia.
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