John McKernan


I smell
His hair oil and shaving lotion

He hands me
The Roman alphabet
And the graceful Arabic numbers 1 to 10

You will need these     He says
To protect you
From the ice in January
And the sun in July

He is wearing
A sheet of lead
And a blanket
Of IV tubes
Road maps in both battered hands

John McKernan, who grew up in Omaha Nebraska, is now a retired Comma Herder / Phonics Coach after teaching 41 years at Marshall University. He lives in West Virginia and Florida. His most recent book is a selected poems Resurrection of the Dust.  He has published poems in The Atlantic Monthly, The Paris Review, The New Yorker, Virginia Quarterly Review, The Journal, Antioch Review, Guernica, Field and many other magazines.

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