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Prologue

Poems Unrequited BarebreastedAs the dawn of morning began to peek through Desmond’s vertical blinds, dread crept from his bones, awakening him from what was already a light slumber. He sat up slowly and tried to force his elsewhere– to green, flowing pastures of the West Virginia Appalachians, far from the scorching desert that he’d been forced to call home.

Here in the small upstairs apartment bedroom, he was worlds away from the place where he and Echan would picnic together on the hill. Reading, debating philosophy, and writing poetry under a canvas of clear, blue sky, they would make love between naps, sipping on moonshine and sharing a joint in the breezy countryside afternoon.

The heat was already setting into his bedroom despite the early hour, and Desmond gulped down tears thinking about that summer when he and Echan looked together toward their future unknown with high hopes and laughter. He could hear her still in in the bathroom as she had been for the past six hours, muttering about Christ and laughing to herself. The children slept soundly across the hall, ignorant of their father’s insurmountable anguish, and mother’s impending schizophrenic meltdown.

He had to pull himself together and figure out how the hell he was going to scrounge up a few bucks for dinner. The food stamps weren’t scheduled to arrive for another week.

He sat on the edge of his bed now, shoulders hunched, his head in his hands. He mulled it over, taking a swig of overly sweet cold coffee, and sighed, reaching for the small tin box tucked under his bed where he kept his stash.

West Virginia
Barebreasted

Sitting barebreasted
On the hill behind the corncrib
Up in the high Spring grass
The wide blue cloudless sky behind you
With the first of our infants suckling,
Beside the well and the scattered
Newborn wildflowers of those mountains
And you calling out to me
Praising the beauty of the day
In a thrilled joy of voice
While the Noon wind blew your hair
I remember this morning
That I swore to never forget that moment
Of the world perfect
And my heart with love for you bursting
abloom
I remember now
Here in the cold dawn room
Where alone I shiver
Wondering how much sorrow
This newday will deliver

For E-chan

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Copyright © 2013-2023 Mani O’Brien. All rights reserved.

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