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Poetry

after Washington Allston

Growing up, the coke ovens were open ears
I uttered nothing to. Men labored here

to impress themselves into the landscape,
now rust & snake pits, the tang of copper

in Dunlap Creek. Each night the ATV engines
protest the approaching evening’s indifference.

Its stormy immanence. In this desert,
I scoured books, lodestones to compass myself

between ambition & survival. They said:
“Let us love the country of here below.

It is real; it offers resistance to love.”
Lord, let me not forget the possibility

of blooming, unlike the trees here grown gray
drinking the water’s black reflection. Teach me

the patience of a raven suffering
the company of a starving man.


The Image archive is supported in part by an award from the National Endowment for the Arts.

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