Issue > Poetry
Valerie Duff

Valerie Duff

Valerie Duff is the author of To the New World (Salmon Poetry). New work has appeared recently or is forthcoming in The Common, AGNI, The Wolf (UK), and The Prague Revue. She has held fellowships and grants from the Massachusetts Cultural Council, the VCCA, and the Writers' Room of Boston. She works as a freelance writer and is the poetry editor at Salamander Magazine. This is her first publication in The Cortland Review.

King Street, Now State

—in Downtown Boston after the reading of the Declaration Of Independence,
King Street turned into State Street. Prison Lane later became Court Street.
The frost delayed bog onion.
Cape Cod an ancient brow,

wild and everywhere
sailors crossed, passengers tracked

through jetty moss, replaced Shawmut
with Massachusetts, thrived.

Old seaweed paths from waterways
wrapped in cheat

fueled the white merchant,
the wide rim of the harbor's

ivory foam. The Charles
roughed out an ice shelf.

Snow fell and fell and fell.
That next summer

when an angry mob decreed
the lion crowned, the unicorn with golden horn,

had royal prints (easier to have been
a piece of fool's parsley, cut in quarters,

burned through that aphid-ridden summer),
a whipping wind of smoke made blind

workers on the waterfront, cinders in their faces.

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