Issue > Poetry
Greg Nicholl

Greg Nicholl

Greg Nicholl lives in Baltimore and works in publishing. His poetry has recently appeared or is forthcoming in Crab Orchard Review, Ecotone, Mid-American Review, Natural Bridge, Nimrod, Post Road, Prairie Schooner, Smartish Pace and elsewhere.

Phantom Settlement III


And who created it? Gave it its name,
its specific coordinates? Who selected the cartographer
and instructed the hand to conjure it from nothing,
waved its palm in the air and fashioned the forests,
the lakes? Does the river cutting through downtown
flow east or west? Or does it flow backward up the mountain?
The steps of the courthouse both ascending and descending
in a continuous loop regardless of which direction you take.
Or maybe it's just perception, a trick of the angle.
And what about the inhabitants who claim to reside there,
who remember what it was like to take their first steps,
to learn to parallel park between cones their dads placed
on opposite sides of the driveway, to fall asleep each night
and wake each morning saying: We are here. We exist.

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