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In a Country

ISSUE:  Fall 2022


And when the rains came 
   like lean wolves 

we were ready. The statues strew with purpose, 

half-buried in myth, in the fecund already 

filling with color 
like the last practice of a dance 

that stretched like honeysuckle 
on the border of a marble quarry, 

where a girl, enslaved, leaned to test the taste 
& imagined her name imprinted 

on the road to the temple at Delphi, 
so that there was no doubt, not ever, 

of her freedom. 


Her name in an earth screaming 
   debt & torches & sharks



A thousand horses pull through the dream of a little land 
& I must feed them 


than stories & touch. 

Ghosts, not flags 
   on the stars. 


It is beginning to snow in the mind  

& I am still in the car, that 100,000 miles of dream, 

returning to where I’ve woken, 
   gift after gift, 

thankful & bruised 

as the faint music of the past opens 
   like a snarl— 

the clarity of nests abandoned by winter, the apartment, the cathedrals of youth, 

where swallows in the last feed ate the sky 
   of foreign cities 

as I protected the mind 
   with youthful answers. 


The yard is a half-finished altar, 
   a rat’s nest of tears. 


Carved into the ether, the day 
I was gifted the knife. 


Bombs & the muffled screams of the dead. 


There is no land, no palace 
   or money for rent. 

To hold onto these dreams—horses at the trough, 

   consuming the fire in gulps. 

My daughter at the door, in a bright-purple coat, 

tying her boots 
as I start up the car. 


I am here & also 
sitting in a fortress 

by the sea. 

I am here in the dream of the land, in the sky I was given 

& give to my daughter 
in paused moments of warmth— 

Also this… 


A kite lost in the grave-clouds, 
   & her birthday next week. 

Also this… 


The snows never came back 
   to hide us. Wolves in the labyrinth, guarded by guards 

that shoot down any leaving 
   from their posts. 


And the betta fish, the swaying tail we buried in ceremony, in a handkerchief, 

as we decided an afterlife, a heaven in miniature, a now, 

where her fish & grandfather 
   are never alone 

& I imagine, alone, the part of story where she can visit the soil in the future, 

because we own the land 

& the handkerchief we folded 


when she shows her first love this place. 

Dad, we must be going somewhere… 


In a country I’ve built another country, a home, 
   though its mostly a poem, a story 

before bed— 

there is good water to drink 
   & horses, 

wolves & dangers
in the ways we can explain 
   & prepare for. 

The road to this country is a thread. 

A benevolent fire. 


I don’t know where we’re going… 

Imagine it with me. 

Step in. Let us in. 



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