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for the 21st century

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Winter 2022-2023

Kelly J Powell


At the Coram Diner there is a woman
with a halo and a missing tooth and her two sons
from different marriages one died and one who
ran off wit the housekeeper and she’s putting
real sugar in her coffee at 93 and a half and
they are entertaining her with tales of the old
days and one of their two dads and they
aren’t in their best shape either these days
one has a walker but the light still shines
In their eyes where they are dancing like
no one’s watching up a hill to the theme
from Rocky on what was once miles of grass
leading up to a self sustaining manor where
they grew their own food and raised chickens
and chopped wood for the many fireplaces
and a wood stove for the servants quarters
and a short walk from the diner to the landmark
at the fork where Talmadge burned the British
hay with 12 men and turned the tide
of the Revolutionary War so that all men would
someday have the inalienable right to the pursuit
of happiness and maybe someday the women
will also but Martha made the socks the soldiers
wore and we are still washing them and making
Mac n cheez and snacks and lunch and running
businesses and getting kids on and off the bus
at the bus stop and the internet has turned our
children into zombies and racing ever against
time but the carnival arrives in town as it does
every year since everyone can remember like it
was yesterday when Reggie Jackson broke
the home run record and the fans jumped
on the field and went crazy and the world
chimed into an historic moment for everyone
everywhere alike as a hero was born and bore
the mantle until they marked the place where
heroes fell in the middle of Long Island
and in the middle of nowhere and the British hay
was burned and socks were darned and
technology was ruining us already with guns
and war and knives and gang sign tattoos and
lace curtain Irish vs the shanty ones arriving off
the same boat famines raging and food deserts
and emotional trauma from living room wars
currying favor past the curry club in Setauket
past the spy ring past the dairy barn past
the dollar tree and the post office past
common sense and reason and where are the
words of the women do your homework
write a thank you or any letter don’t come home
too late don’t drink too much go to battle never to
come home 12 men burning hay in
the countryside at this time of year almost
250 years ago the lady in the headband follows
her two surviving son s and the hostess holds
the door some tables turned in the process
and sounds of heroes falling and survivors
surviving and the light shining by lantern
cell phone or porch light but shining nonetheless

Kelly J Powell is a graduate of Binghamton University’s Literature and Rhetoric Program. Proud single mom to another SUNY alumni! A poet native to Ling Island she hopes you are having a beautiful day.