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I Drive Home At Dusk In February

Katherine Smith

The first time the fields died,

I was thirty, visiting my hometown

when my brother drove me

through the new houses in the bottomland

drained of its swamp, even the creek

where we used to stand the horses to cool their fetlocks


The first time a piece of land I loved was ruined,

I wept as if someone I were close to had died.

It seems silly now, childish, the way

a girl breaks down and cries at a single harsh word

or a boy weeps the first time he loses his heart forever.


The same children weep more quietly

through their recitation of the Kaddish

at their father’s funeral

while the congregation stands with them

and the rain falls, pouring down

                                                     father by father.

(The Hong Kong Review, Vol. II, No. 1)

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