Atlas

This poem is called Atlas and I want you to think of Atlas in the classic pose of holding up the world.

Atlas

Extreme exertion
isolates a person
from help,
discovered Atlas.
Once a certain
shoulder-to-burden
ratio collapses,
there is so little
others can do:
they can’t
lend a hand
with Brazil
and not stand
on Peru.

?Atlas? from The Niagara River (Grove Press, 2005), ? Kay Ryan 2005, used by permission of the author and Grove/Atlantic, Inc.

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