“You plunge into the world. You roll the dice.

You make new friends, a few, or maybe none…”

 

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From Around Here

The heat, damned heat — and now humidity.

A hundred-plus miles from the beach and yet

just like Savannah, the very air wet.

No shaded squares, no Spanish moss, no sea,

only good old-fashioned Southern misery.

Our friends back home ask, “Are y’all still up North?”

“No,” we say, again compelled to hold forth

about Tredegar, Jeff Davis, and General Lee.

Cuts no ice. “Yankee Land,” I’ve heard at least twice.

They know we’re a short drive from Washington.

We miss the marsh, the palms, Saint Patrick’s Day.

You plunge into the world. You roll the dice.

You make new friends, a few, or maybe none.

Waiters say “Hi” not “Hey.” You make your way.

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Ron Smith is a former Poet Laureate of Virginia. Currently Writer-in-Residence at Saint Christopher’s School in Richmond, he is the author of the books Running Again in Hollywood Cemetery (University Press of Florida) and three books from LSU Press: Moon Road, Its Ghostly Workshop, and The Humility of the Brutes. In 2018 he was a Featured Poet at the American Library in Paris, where he also read new poems in the Salon Eiffel on the Eiffel Tower.
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Gunver Hasselbalch’s watercolors and drawings have been displayed in her native Denmark, where she also works in the theater, and in Italy. Some of her paintings were featured in our “Small Things, Partial Cures” issue.
Centro commerciale, umbrellas in sunshine. Watercolor, 2016.