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Fall '23


It was a false equivalence

they explained     and so

I had to let it go—


the look in their eyes

and the words spilling 

from their mouths     like a river 

that carries so much trash

through a city center


an ochre-stained river 

of mud and starvation

no longer navigable

as it tunnels

through concrete sewers


bypassing the gleaming towers

of corruption     an aura

of pure light     electric

in its intensity


they told me I could never see her again

and that no-one remembered her name 

lost between the worlds 

of juniper     and honey

where we each must take our turns


it’s all a matter of acceptance     they said 

dealing with the existence of happenstance 

through the medium of art 


and I saw her

I saw the birds     they swept down

and pecked the splinters 

from the corners of her eyes 

as she tossed her bouquet


so high that we never saw it land

and that is all that remains in my memory

far into the future

Paul Ilcheko is a British-American poet and occasional songwriter who lives with his partner in Lambertville, NJ. His work has appeared in many journals, including The Bennington Review, The Night Heron Barks, Southword, Stirring, and The Inflectionist Review. His first book is scheduled for 2025 publication by Gnashing Teeth Publishing.  

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