Kevin Vaughn


Kevin Vaughn
 
The Way to Eden
 
I scraped my legacy
            as a fruit vendor
                 on the streets of the 7th city.
 
My fathers
            grandfathers
                 assured me
 
every dream
            lay in
                 Eden
 
& frugality would
            assure my passage, but
                 my savings dented by
 
weak moments
            spent with
                 trafficked virgins –
 
how had I trusted
            men, all my life,
                 poor &
 
lonely? I latched to
            men passing through
                 scheming advice for
 
passage.
            They were convinced
                 easily that
 
I had been a husbandman,
            a scribe, a perfurmer
                 a carver, an astronomer.
 
& my letters were
            straight, figures near
                 perfect, I’d observed the
 
gentry & spoke on their subjects.
            animals need…
                 little prompting.
 
Those bawdy men
            & some intinerant masters might
                 jostle the plaque, but
 
I deferred &
            parried. Oh, how they loved
                 to talk; I was never forced to
 
authencity. So
            between illiterate wanderers &
                 unsettled experts, I
 
forged a documented life.
            We parted
                 on the raucous streets of
 
Zion. The highway
            to this rough-hewn town
                 before the road to
 
Eden was a convoy of
            junked vehicles, skeletons with
                 hypodermics hanging from
 
the elbows of
            their shirt sleeves. The
                 scent of poppies had
 
mounted in
            the air that whole journey.
                 I watched the eyes of
 
my companions go
            slowly dullard.
                 Mother’s pre-partum
 
laudanum inoculated
            me against the air, if
                 not a fascination
 
with the needle. The
            chastity of the journey
                 purged me;
 
my purse a bulge
            against my thigh.
                 Clear yellow
 
sun crept intently
            as kudzu across
                 the planks of
 
the boarding house floor.
            I lifted the windows
                 & smelled the dying of
 
night fires. The highway
            & 7th city seemed so
                 distant now
 
I did not want to
            stay, but
                 I did not need to leave.
 
 
 
Kevin Vaughn is currently a doctoral student in English & Creative Writing at The University of Georgia. He also holds an MFA in Creative Writing from Columbia University. Kevin is a former Fulbright Fellow to Jagiellonian University in Poland and a graduate fellow of the Cave Canem Foundation. His work has appeared or is forthcoming in Callaloo, Crab Orchard Review, Harpur Palate, Mississippi Review, Mythium, Naugutuck River Review, PANK and the anthologies: “Killer Lines: Poems about Murder & Mayhem” and “The Southern Poetry Anthology, Volume V: Georgia.” He has the recipient of artistic residencies all over the world, including The Millay Colony for the Arts, Vermont Studio Center and Performing Arts Forum in Picardie, France.
 

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