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Used To

by Marj Hogan

for Sarli Mercado

it means you go back to the map and put one 
index finger on the curved coast. you say which
border and when what happened. you tell about 
the time your father gathered the hens and took them
someplace else. 

                                 you tell the mountain, the name 
of the mountain, the owls that hid there with cat
faces, the eyes of the owls. you go back to the map
and start again with the tip of one finger for each 

                              then begin again in a new house, a 
park, a school, a metal fence. there was a hard snow 
that confused you. everything happened in the 
imperfect tense, and all your hard habits wore 
into you. you shed one

                                          city for another. there was 
a river, lights. the silent stacks of a midnight library 
at closing. you cover the map with the palm 
of a hand to gather up the borders, the coast, the 
grandmothers, other rivers,

                                           the things that happened
once and more than once, the things that built you, 
that went on still and without you. 


quiere decir que vuelves al mapa y pones un 
dedo índice donde la costa se curva. dices qué 
frontera y cuándo pasó lo que pasó. cuentas sobre 
la vez que tu padre recogió las gallinas y se las llevó
a otro lugar. 

                     dices la montaña, el nombre 
de la montaña, los búhos que se escondían con caras
de gato, los ojos de los búhos. vuelves al mapa
y empiezas de nuevo con la yema de un dedo por cada 

         luego, comienzas de nuevo en otra casa, un 
parque, una escuela, una cerca. había una nieve 
sólida que te confundió. todo pasó en el 
imperfecto, y todos tus tercos hábitos te fueron 
consumiendo. te sacaste una 

                              ciudad te pusiste otra. había un río, 
luces. silencio en los estantes de una biblioteca a medianoche,
al cierre. cubres el mapa con la palma 
de una mano recoges las fronteras, la costa, las 
abuelas, otros ríos,

                                   las cosas que pasaron
una y más de una vez, las que te fundaron,  
que siguieron aún y sin ti.

Marj Hogan

About Marj Hogan

Marj Hogan (she/her) lives in Portland, Oregon. On weekdays she crosses the Columbia River to teach English and Spanish to high school students. Her poems have appeared in publications including Bear Deluxe, VoiceCatcher, Pretty Owl, 3Elements, and Paperbark.

Cold Mountain Review is published once a year in the Department of English at Appalachian State University. Support from Appalachian’s Office of Academic Affairs and College of Arts and Sciences enables CMR’s learning and publications program. The views and opinions expressed in CMR do not necessarily reflect those of university trustees, administration, faculty, students, or staff.