Chapter 16
A Community of Tennessee Writers, Readers & Passersby


Charlotte Pence is a poet and critic who received her Ph.D. in creative writing from the University of Tennessee. She is the author of two chapbooks, Weaves a Clear Night (Winner of the Flying Trout Chapbook Award in 2011) and The Branches, the Axe, the Missing (winner of the Black River Chapbook Award in 2012); a textbook,The Writer’s Path; and a new full-length collection of poems, Many Small Fires. She is also the editor of an essay collection, The Poetics of American Song Lyrics. Now an assistant professor at Eastern Illinois University, she lives in Charleston, Illinois.


What we remember gains value from what we forget.
Where is the autumn in Persephone’s myth? The yellow
lost to the bleach? The second pair of baby shoes?

Such need to feel significant in a world that confirms
insignificance. The search for bones and bowls,
bits of bomb shells, even though museums are full of them.

What we know gains clarity from what we misunderstand.
The bristled, wagging tail of a revving-up dog. A “sure”
that means no. Brightness of ice on a black country road.