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poetry


NATION
by
Kevin J.B. O'Connor

He didnít want to cross.

Plum trees slumped,

dark bulbs along a ravine.

There was nothing to do


but pick and step.

With each drag his soles ached,

winnowing the earth

into textures: slate, dust, air.


He saw other fruit in dreams:

Empire Apples in New York.

Blackberries in Mendoza—

lugged by canaille, stacked


in diesel trucks, distributed

to chapfallen storeowners

in pale blue hats and overalls.

It was almost dawn.


Cattle shifted behind him

in a white haze, grunting,

tolling bells. With nowhere to go,

his only choice a page of history—


in cracked leather boots,

headphones, a parka, concerns

frozen in a hundred passports

stuffed in pockets, love


waiting patiently beyond—

he stepped on white stalks

of daisies before the harrowing door.

Crossing, he didnít come back.



Kevin J.B. O'Connor was born in Hornell, NY. He graduated from Johns Hopkins and Tulane, and is currently in the MFA program at Old Dominion University.



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