Separated by the Atlantic:
March; Kansas City, Missouri
by Jake Sheff
Jake Sheff is a physician in his intern year on Long Island. He is also a captain in the US Air Force. He plans on serving our country as a pediatric oncologist for the children of soldiers. Poetry has been a top source of artistic pleasure for him since meeting the modernists' work in college. An avid reader, he began writing his final year of medical school (with its abundance of free time) and has just recently begun sending out the work to journals he's read and continues to enjoy. A poem of his has been selected for publication by Pirene's Fountain, and he hopes that is just the beginning of a long, long career in writing.
It's the darker half of the evening. The grass
of my apartment building's yard
is the rain-fed shade
of the Ireland I know
from photographs, its distant
hills like ancient mounds
of shallow graves. A fog
glides down their slopes
like a stingray on the seafloor.
The air is moist, up ahead
my two dogs walk leashed
and one chases a leaf,
puts his paw down and sniffs
the catch. His fur is red;
they're Japanese, non-sporting.
But on the sidewalk or patch
of dirt awaiting landscaping
they are both herding.
My flock of sheep is
up ahead in my seaweed-green valley
with its scattered slate rocks,
storm-worn with geometric planes
all the size of human skulls or
an object for bludgeoning.
At the front entrance, an emergency
room's (a children's hospital
was converted to my apartment
complex): the smoke
of an employee with her book,
a romance novel, chokes
as I walk by; a tenant
rushes off to school past
the flagpole, tall with Stars and Stripes
inappropriately small, in the wind
snapping like a schoolteacher
by a daydreamer's ear.
An SUV parks in the circle drive
that's designated just for fire-trucks,
and my two dogs have stopped
at the tinted doors to our building's
lobby. One looks inward, waiting,
but the other looks my way
with his brown eyes full of sorrow.
It's as if to tell me he wants
to not herd sheep anymore—
that is, until tomorrow.
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