Nov/Dec 2019 • Vol. XLI No. 6 PoetryNovember 2, 2019 |

South Carolina, Again

1 And all around the world, lovers’ bodies are tingling — then fatigue sets in. Will you teach me that my body is loved? I cannot carry my angst all night. I am back in Columbia, and it is late — the night is loud with crickets. I must lay the burden down and howl. The true heroes know the end of the race — 
where the end of the race is — that last lap after the bell. Economize, then understand that the earth is decaying, now — airless, cells gasping for food, and enzymes of the dying rushing blindly through the organs — pump, pump! Hold on and then die. What happens when the ribbon is moved? This is how our revolution is jogging along. And the children of perdition sing, “How long. How long?” Who knows? One hundred sea turtles in Chiapas State on the beach — how long before burial? Today it is raining —  that wonderful magic of a planet that understands itself — in an open field, a body so far from a road, so far f

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Kwame Dawes is the author of numerous books of poetry and other books of fiction, criticism, and essays. His most recent collection, UnHistory, was cowritten with John Kinsella (Peepal Tree Press, 2022). Dawes is a George W. Holmes University Professor of English and the Glenna Luschei Editor of Prairie Schooner. He teaches in the Pacific University MFA Program and is the series editor of the African Poetry Book Series, director of the African Poetry Book Fund, and Artistic Director of the Calabash International Literary Festival. He is a Chancellor of the Academy of American Poets and a Fellow of the Royal Society of Literature. Dawes is the winner of the prestigious Windham Campbell Prize for Poetry and was a finalist for the 2022 Neustadt International Prize for Literature. In 2022, Dawes was awarded the Order of Distinction, Commander class, by the Government of Jamaica.

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