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Poem for Emmerline

The closest I have been to Europe

is in following him when he gets, you know,

restless. That long-hard look in his eyes

and all the talk of misunderstanding, shouts

to the back of the place for more ice. Not

the slurring, but the guns. The checking or

rechecking to see if they’re all oiled and loaded,

a missive about the French and their dependence


on soldiers. When he rubs his knee

it could mean anything, but he assures anyone

within earshot this is a wound from idiocy

or romance, because no land mine could ever

find him. I grow a beard and the ocean turns green

on every side of us, think I should reorder my life

around similar sections: The water before, the water

after, this endless far-off now. Before the generator

starts humming, there are candles, the way light

becomes hesitant, insistent, and distracted across

a face while sipping rum. The swimming earlier

encouraged thirst, but on the boat tomorrow

there’s no telling which way we may turn our heads

point our direction upwards and reclaim the world;

watch our visions disappear.

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©2020 by Kurt Cole Eidsvig