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Navigating Pittsburgh 

Today's quick trip down to the Strip,
miraculous parking space
in front of Pennsylvania Macaroni,
cheese from all over the world,
fresh bread, olives shimmering
in buckets of oil, handmade pasta.

Odd turns take you by surprise —
across a river you hadn't meant to cross,
streets that don't run parallel, but a street
that parallels itself, hills, hollers,
confounding all sense of direction,
the way people tell you turn right
where the Gulf station used to be.

Across the Allegheny on the 40th St. Bridge
to Millvale, Jean-Marc Chatelier, flat blue shop
on a faded street in the worn mill town,
thrifty-proud. The woman who sells me
fragrant croissants, chocolate cakes
with raspberry cream, tells me she'd walked
in her wedding dress to the church just up
the street, reception in the fire hall.
But her son wants limousines.

— Liane Ellison Norman

Liane Ellison Nornan's book of poetry, Breathing the West: Great Basin Poems, was published this year by Bottom Dog Press. Her chapbook Driving Near the Old Federal Arsenal was published last year by Finishing Line Press. Her poems have appeared in 5 AM, the North American Review, Kestrel, The Fourth River, Grasslimb and in the anthologies Voices From the Attic and Come Together: Imagine Peace. Ellison won the Wisteria Prize in 2006 from Paper Journey Press. Norman is the author of two other books of poetry, The Duration of Grief and Keep; a biography of Pittsburgh's Molly Rush; a novel about Mozart's mother; and many articles, essays and reviews. She lives in Squirrel Hill. Many writers featured in Chapter & Verse are guests of Prosody, produced by Jan Beatty and Ellen Wadey. Prosody airs every Saturday morning on 90.5 FM.

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