Because I, like Dedalus, cannot pray to my mother’s liking
and North Sea fog is this poet’s filter. Since my mind seems
predisposed to the efficient burning of peat, and gunboats
on the Liffey set fire to my inheritance of anger,

I will arise and go to a land held siege by water
and bound by regret, where they yearn for those lost
to the promise of elsewhere. I will drink to a forgotten
language flourishing in worth.

Because I emerged, hat in hand, from a White Star Line
and still pass through St. James’ Gate to get my bearings,
I sing “Nearer My God to Thee” each time I’m told
vengeance belongs to the Lord.

I will arise and go to a land scored by poets, where the
wailing of pipes draws blood and tears from a bottomless
well. Fogged in by an empire, I will hoist the tricolor and
buff the chip on my shoulder until it shines.

Image credit:Christian Dorn

D. E. Kern is an author and educator from Bethlehem, Pa. He worked in newspapers for fifteen years before shifting to Creative Writing in graduate school. His writing has appeared in Appalachian Review, Big Muddy, CRATE, The Examined Life, Mission at Tenth, Rio Grande Review and The Owen Wister Review among others. He teaches English at Arizona Western College where he also directs the Honors Program. When he is not teaching or writing, he enjoys fishing and traveling with his lovely wife, Neesha.