The National Poetry Review

Beth McDermott


A year after teams of rescuers pulled him out of the collapsed mountain, Vega
put on a mining helmet again.

-Héctor Tobar, “Sixty-Nine Days”


After rebuilding
his chest, so his clavicle

relaxed somewhat into
flesh, the one Reygadas had called

butterfly jerky opted
to go back—no cure

but work.
I imagine him,

slanted in the truck bed,

by the new men’s
lamps: no landscape reflects

the shadows of his
arms and legs so sharply as

rock corporations
are paying him to

search. But Reygadas—
one-time ration-

sharer, borborygmus-
hearer, were he here—

would smell charqui’s
fear the same

way he called him

BETH MCDERMOTT is the author of How to Leave a Farmhouse (Porkbelly Press, 2015) and an editor with RHINO and Kudzu House Quarterly. Her poetry has appeared in journals such as, Bayou, Harpur Palate, and Watershed Review. She’s an assistant professor of English at the University of St. Francis and lives in New Lenox, IL.

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