The Adirondack Review

The Miracle of the Actual

While the poet was falling in love with people she hadn't met
certain Vietnamese were in their third generation of the torment of Agent Orange
which crafts real people like Picassos, joints in all directions, limbs ending.
Lingers at least fifty years like heartbreak, and breaks the mighty imagination
over angles like the Atlantic shatters clams on the jetties up and down New Jersey.

We kept expecting as a society for time to stop and let us into the air conditioning
to ponder and take our ease upon the new-aged recliners of the seventies.
Beholding the fine view, we would devise the humane, unbend some crooks.
It seemed like things were improving when reporters took a break writing about them,
we cannot believe in the population of China and think the scientists extremists.

The lovers Shirin and Khosro fell in love just hearing about each other
so long ago you could claim it never happened, or was a myth
and crossed Anatolia missing each other six or seven times, once,
Khosro saw her bathing and the sight of her back was enough to ruin him
for two or three more crossings until she finally arrived and lost her beauty
for him but not to him at the hand of some angry nephew.

The only way we know that Agent Orange affects the reproductive system
and lasts through generations is over time and due to love,
the trail of each fresh deformity blazed with parting legs and longing
stronger than the ruination of rice paddies and demonstrations, if everything
were set afire, finally, as is always threatened, still couples would lay in the fields
or stand gripping slippery counters, ignoring the forecasts real and unimagined.





Jasmine V. Bailey
The St. Lawrence Book Award for a first collection of short stories or poems
The St. Lawrence Book Award for a first collection of short stories or poems
The St. Lawrence Book Award for a first collection of short stories or poemsThe St. Lawrence Book Award for a first collection of short stories or poemsThe St. Lawrence Book Award for a first collection of short stories or poems
The St. Lawrence Book Award for a first collection of short stories or poems
JASMINE V. BAILEY is a graduate student in the Creative Writing Department at the University of Virginia. An alumnus of Colgate University and George School, she did a Fulbright English Teaching grant in Argentina and has taught Spanish at the Peddie School and the University of Virginia.