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  • 1. Uz
  • Stephen O’Connor (bio)

Help yourself to the blond fields, to the tractor rattle. A querulous jay was placed on that fire-stripped oak just for you. Likewise, the clouds were inflated and that jet trail scratched across the empty blue this very morning. Do you like the hint of woodsmoke? And those telephone poles at the horizon? Nice touches, I think. They make it all true. Listen to that ragged cock's crow—that was my idea. Doesn't it bring everything into balance? And those shovels—if you dig under any rock, you will find we have created mysteries: bits of bone and bead that don't belong, hieroglyphs in languages more than dead, idols to a very cleverly conceived array of gods, if I do say so myself. You could spend a lifetime decoding the suggestions we have left behind, and I assure you it would be worth it. Of course, we have taken signs off some of the roads, and made the odd stair step uneven. And one day, when you least expect it, you will find that leaf-covered body in the woods, dent in the skull, underwear around the neck. But absolutely nothing has been left to chance. There is no randomness here, nothing less than eighty-seven percent meaningful. Every dragonfly and hailstone has been calibrated precisely to your taste.

Stephen O’Connor

Stephen O’Connor has published three books: Rescue (fiction and poetry), Will My Name Be Shouted Out? (memoir) and Orphan Trains (history). He teaches in the writing MFA programs of Columbia and Sarah Lawrence.



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