Saturday Poem: The author wishes to acknowledge

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I suppose you want thanks now,

for the fact the truck

didn’t crush my head,

just the knee. Or you want

thanks that I’m walking again.

I’m sure you wouldn’t mind a nod

for the Carolina rains, the screws

in my leg, the way my heart stops

at an engine’s backfire, at shouts

of children on the beach.

I’ll tell you what. Let me stare

out of the window of my old cabin

and walk without crutches

through the overgrown grass.

Let me stop dreaming of headlights

and hurtling through the air,

the broken windshield,

the blood on the asphalt,

the puddles that were mine

and the ones that weren’t.

Let me go back to Kamakura

to watch the trains ramble,

the leaves fall, and burn

my tongue on hot fried squid

under the Buddha on the hilltop.

When I get home, I swear, I’ll lie

naked with tears on my cheeks,

the blankets flung from the bed.

I will whisper to the faded vinyl

stars spread across my ceiling — thanks

for all of it, for not dying this time

before I wake. But mostly, I want

to thank you for the slow rivers

that look like my mother’s skin,

and how my sister shuts her eyes

when she laughs.

— Kevin Dougherty

Kevin Dougherty grew up in Mt. Lebanon and is currently an MFA candidate at the University of Arkansas, where he teaches undergraduate composition. His work has or soon will be published in Jet Fuel Review, The Allegheny Review and Prairie Margins.

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