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MacQueen’s Quinterly: Knock-your-socks-off Art and Literature
Issue 14: August 2022
Poem: 159 words
By Deborah J. Shore


In my dreams, young poets from Ukraine 
give readings about the war. 
They must have been among the littlest 
when they came, for no accent remains. 
One shares that she’d prayed to die 
if both her parents did, 
but lived. She says it plain, 
without regret for her own ending. 
Still, for ones like her, I wonder 
when will a border ever be an entrance, 
not a tearing away? 
			      I suppose it will be when
her distress, having been held under the tongue, 
a parasite of its flesh, has developed, 
layer by layer of nacre, into a gate to New Jerusalem. 
Then its pearl must open; for this, her inner child grows 
curious, even playful, about the adder’s hole. 
And the panic dissipates as she watches her, 
so bravely familiar and amicable. She’s on her way. 
She’s slipped out of her own skin again and again, 
shedding terrors and limitations—
one foot in hell, one hand in heaven. 


Deborah J. Shore
Issue 14, August 2022

has been disabled by a neuroimmune illness throughout her adult life. She has spent many years housebound or bedridden, and impaired cognitively and audio-visually, making engagement with and composition of literature hard-won. Nonetheless, early publication credits include the Christian Century, Christianity & Literature, and Crab Orchard Review. She has also been awarded first place in poetry competitions at the Anglican Theological Review and the Alsop Review.

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