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  • Route 7 Review

Courtney Hitson—The Sestina that Sacredness Ended

What, exactly, makes an object or place

sacred? Because when I hear

that word, I picture a person—my father, alive,

inhaling a lake-side starscape after ousting our

fire, or slouched, smug, in his junky Civic, grinning his smart-

assed grin, as if aware

he’s someplace he’s forbidden. In memory’s elevator, he wears

his sacredness like cologne—a pullied place

scaling past to present, where I can’t outsmart

my sentimentality. Here,

doors open to camping trips, races I won—our

superlative moments. I’ve

entered a grief that sees the world alive

with my father’s loss—shirts he’d wear,

jingles he’d hum, the organic brand of flour

he used to bake bread—these things pulse an essence in places

only I can see. And everywhere

becomes aisles at a Grief-Mart

under-charging currencies of want. So, I return to art—

sketching—pieces unbound to his presence—but absences live

in them like pacing tenets. And now here

I am, unsure of where

his ashes ended up. There was no funeral and I haven’t visited his place

since before it happened. So, I know that our

home state will greet a version of me, giddy to spend hours

with him. I will try to smarten

myself stoic. But then I will enter that place

in our garage, his racing bike and the first unicycle he gave me, alive

with a sacredness that will wear

the breath from me. And I’ll know he isn’t here.

Courtney Hitson

Courtney Hitson holds an MFA in poetry from Columbia College Chicago and currently teaches English at the College of the Florida Keys. Her poems have appeared in The Wisconsin Review, Hoosier Lit, The Mom Egg, and are forthcoming in Mcneese Review. She is a former Pushcart nominee and resides with her husband, Tom, (a fellow poet) and two cats.


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