We used to be able to collect the dust,
to make whole families out of the dust
& though those families were never able

to fit a ship inside of the bottle, they could
could give themselves wholly to the land
that made them. The hard times took

them away from America. The hard times
shoved them across the country, pushing
them into the ocean, forcing them to become

part of the untenable tides controlled
by the otherworldly mothers. We are clean
people now. We are so incredibly weak.


Darren Demaree’s poems have appeared, or are scheduled to appear in numerous magazines/journals, including the South Dakota Review, Meridian, New Letters, Diagram, and the Colorado Review. Darren is the author of five poetry collections, most recently “The Nineteen Steps Between Us” (2016, After the Pause). Darren is the Managing Editor of the Best of the Net Anthology and Ovenbird Poetry.

Vagabond City Literary Journal

Founded in 2013, we are a literary journal dedicated to publishing outsider literature. We publish art, prose, reviews, and interviews from marginalized creators.