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Michael Robins

Oregon Trail

The afternoons when we swam in the center of the world & rode our bicycles out of there, never guessing how, with affections, we’d look so often back. Moving a degree or two now toward the door where they unleash the dogs a final time, the shore where our father watches the sky but really from the strangeness of his home, his mind the small raft drifting farther from his body. No doubt the blooms went finite for the hundred billion who loved their own bouquet before we came along, yet we pity those unopened buds, green as the stems on which they’re done & the century lost in the wash. For us, the lucky ones, we find that chair with the long & narrow view of the matching, empty chair.

Against Yesterday 


First the idea & the ripening in which it sits. Some say I was away too long. I myself say we’ve lost the dog, gone, & only a breeze moves through the green lawn on the far side of the glass. Some say I’m sorry even for the men who come to close the street, sorry for this season of white shirts & attempts like vinegar to fix them clean. Such condolence being an artist, living & dead at once. Too thick for my tongue, I wait for the cat who comes only when she’s good & ready. Some might think of a bowl with milk. Some think of trees that grow from a seed. 


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Michael Robins is the author of five collections of poetry, including People You May Know (2020) and The Bright Invisible (2022), both from Saturnalia Books. He lives in Lake Charles, Louisiana, where he teaches in the MFA program at McNeese State University and serves as editor of The McNeese Review. 

Bear Review


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