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Saturday, January 21, 2012


by Kathleen Flenniken

Perhaps Americans are Iowans in essence.
Granite Staters. South Carolinians. Our system teaches us
the states in the west

don’t need or have a say—speaking as a westerner—
so we don’t field candidates, in essence,
we don’t have presidents from the great northwest.  Would any of us

want the presidency anyway?  Kissing babies, wars, and crisis.  None of us
meet these egregious sweater-vested villains in person.  We moved out west
for independence and (still remember) privacy.  These hand-picked states in essence

represent us. It’s essentially democracy by proxy. The west just watches on TV.

Kathleen Flenniken’s new collection, Plume, from University of Washington Press, is a very personal history of the Hanford Nuclear Site.  Her poems appeared in recent issues of Poetry Northwest, Southern Poetry Review, and the 2012 Pushcart Prize anthology.