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Perhaps it would have been different if the baby girl had lived. Perhaps Maggie and Janie would have stayed, a house of four women and only one wandering man. Maybe then their Daddy would have been the only one left searching. They might have grown old together there, then married, raised their babies in the scattered shadows of the coal breaker, put their hopes for a better life into the next generation, content with their own destiny. But life slipped from that baby secretly, was gone before they had a chance to say her name. Born as a spirit she unmoored all of them from the land beneath their feet, sending them mapless into the world, perpetually aching for what was left behind. One tiny soul carried four lives in her infant palm, each one falling somewhere different the further she drifted away.

Mine is the fictional story of two sisters, Maggie and Janie, bonded by the loss of their sister and later their mother. The girls begin their life in the coal region of Pennsylvania, but it becomes abundantly clear that Maggie is determined to find a way out. As the sisters’ lives diverge in unexpected ways, we learn how they remain both entwined and distant, their shared past resurfacing regardless of their distance from home.

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