“Dorset” by J.R. Barner

The most beautiful woman my father had ever seen,

Except, he kept insisting, my mother, of course,

Hailed from Grimstone, Stratton parish, in Dorset.

So, I set out to find her, with only their love letters in hand:

Her name splayed out on the yellowing paper, 

Like vines encircling the lost heart of a soldier.

I had intended to take the train,

But the station was shuddered in ’66, 

So, I hitchhiked along the A37, 

My eyes darting along with the blurry current of the Frome. 

There was no Wi-Fi at the butcher’s, 

Where my kindly Samaritan dropped me

And no directory to try and sort an address. 

There was just this cold wind

That seemed to follow me everywhere,

Like it knew something I didn’t.


J.R. Barner is a writer, teacher, and musician living in Athens, Georgia. They are the author of the chapbooks Burnt Out Stars and Thirteen Poems and their forthcoming first collection, Little Eulogies. They were educated at the University of Minnesota and the University of Georgia. Their work has appeared in online and print journals Flow, Anobium, and Release. New work is available periodically at jrbarner.tumblr.com.

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