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Contributor: Joel Van Valin

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Alexander had one blue eye
and one brown eye.
So did his horse. They conquered
half of Asia...

While France, they say, was rescued by
a shepherdess from Domrémy
and I’ve heard of a
captain’s daughter who cut her hair
rode off and fought Napoleon.

What is the wind that rustles about these loved
ones of history? Do they see
a clarified air, a sky with a
slightly different shade of blue?

I think of Hart Crane, whose father
invented Life Savers
walking off the end of a Caribbean ship
and Lead Belly singing “Goodnight, Irene”
to free himself from a Texas prison ...

And who knows, perhaps one day even you
will show up at your own funeral
or passing by dark water, find a sword
risen from the lake, the white hand of a lady.

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Joel Van Valin is the publisher of the literary journal Whistling Shade. His poems have appeared in publications such as Half-Drunk Muse, Free Verse and Poetry Motel, and his sonnet "The Empty Road" was a winner of the 2012 Great River Shakespeare Sonnet Contest. He lives with his wife in St. Paul.


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