Spring 1991 • Vol. XIII No. 2 Poetry |

Creatures Who Must Know Better Have Taken Me for a Blossom

This year Kennebec and Red Pontiac, last year's russet and white cobblers done in by nematodes, flea beetles, early and late blight. Maybe it's the one-fourth Irish blood that's made me drunkwith promise, though wasn't it Ali, stung by his loss to Holmes, who explained it, "I had the world, and let me tell you, it wasn't nothing"? You see, I cut them as if they were diamonds, with a studied, precise stroke. All this, the voice of reason reminds me, for what I could buy in a reusable mesh bag. But I'm stubborn in the middle of God's own metaphor, dropping potatoes into loamy dirt, while ruby-throated hummingbirdstake my red shirt for the biggest bee balmthey've ever seen. Their wings flapping at an angel's pace, they taste my only holiness, my sweat—their need a form of prayer. I want to tellmy father what's happened, tell himI'm sorry, I didn't mean to drink too muchand sleep it off on the job he got me, didn't mean to get caught by a man named Earl who had no eyebrows and was his

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Kevin Stein has published eleven books of poetry, criticism, and anthology, including the recent collection Wrestling Li Po for the Remote (Fifth Star Press, 2013) and the essays Poetry's Afterlife: Verse in the Digital Age (U of Michigan, 2010). Poet Laureate of Illinois, Stein was awarded in 2016 The Order of Lincoln, the state's highest honor for professional achievement and service. He teaches at Bradley University.

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Wishful Rhetoric

By Kevin Stein

This year Kennebec and Red Pontiac, last year's russet and white cobblers done in by nematodes, flea beetles, early and late blight. Maybe it's the one-fourth Irish blood that's made […]

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