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MacQueen’s Quinterly: Knock-your-socks-off Art and Literature
Issue 10: October 2021
Poem: 182 words
By Paul Ilechko


The high ridge is   in its own way 
a bridge between distinct outcroppings 
a granite ledge of no small drama when seen 

uncoiling its length across three counties 
or more   dark beneath the forested 
slopes   that rise up from the bottomlands 

	deer come down from the hills 
	into town during the night 
	and eat the bulbs from our garden 
	something we were unable to believe 
	until we saw them in our headlights 

this Delaware being crossed by several 
bridges   but perhaps too few   opening 
a niche for the silent boatmen who shuttle 

their passengers from point to point 
a quiet exchange necessitated with 
the inevitable cash of a dark economy 

	we used to put out food for birds 
	black oil seed for the cardinals 
	and chickadees   thistle for 
	the goldfinch   but then the rats 
	came   so now we must pause 

and the rivers and the ridges examine 
one another   each held at arm’s length 
but with sufficient respect   knowing 

that beyond them is a whole world of oceans 
and mountains   such things as this soft 
ecosystem should have no opinion on. 

Paul Ilechko
Issue 10, October 2021

is a poet and songwriter, and the author of three chapbooks, most recently Pain Sections (Alien Buddha Press, 2021). His work has appeared in a variety of journals, including The Night Heron Barks, Rogue Agent, Ethel, San Pedro River Review, Lullwater Review, Book of Matches, and Sheila-Na-Gig. He lives with his partner in Lambertville, New Jersey.

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