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Wherever You Go Someone Has Been There Already 




All these years the clouds have been falling 

into the Mulberry River like white milk thinned 

and choppy and now 

we have come. 

We are still too young to make a fuss about things 

like the blue spread of blood under the skin 

or the stilted tracks of scrapes or slime 

slick on stones. 

We come without instruments because after all 

a young person needs nothing but himself: 

his firm, supple flesh, and the lodestar in his breast. 

We are not afraid 


of frail, quiet people or the hostile vines, 

the scratched faces of cliffs, the tight trees. 

We let the cold close around our chests and we break

with the monstrosity of maps.


We will go to a place where no one has been before. 

From a rock no other bared leathery feet 

have hugged we shall look down with scorn 

on ordinary things, 

on the little pink figures sunning with their 

fingers parted to wave and their lips wide, 

on the cloudy river curling like a tame snake 

through the humps of the hills. 

We went up with our hearts like songbirds. 

On the far side of sanity and fences we might have found 

anything: a dragon with icicle teeth or even 

the edge of the world. 

The unknown is a range of rejoicing. 

We slowed when our toes touched a ribbon of asphalt

and a high, familiar monster came at us 

on eighteen wheels, trumpeting.

(for Paul Shackelford) 


Bryana Joy is a writer, poet, and painter who works full-time sending illustrated snail mail letters all over the world. She has lived in Turkey, East Texas, and England, and currently resides in the Lehigh Valley in Eastern Pennsylvania. Her poetry has appeared in an assortment of literary journals, and is forthcoming in Delmarva Review, Black Fox Literary Magazine, Pensive Journal, and others. She writes about her travels, her sometimes complicated relationship with God, her childhood in Turkey, and the loosed splendor of winged things—especially shorebirds. Bryana particularly enjoys helping new writers explore the magic and complexity of language, and began hosting online poetry workshop courses in early 2021. Find her online at

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