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Low Country, Advent

by Valerie Nieman

A gaunt white man in a feed store cap leans
forward and peers deep into the plastic
eyes of the tallest and darkest of the Magi.

Three signs tilt at the side of the road:
Flat Earth! The moon landing was FAKE!
Jesus Has ALREADY Come!

Ten miles back on this two-lane,
a black man with a prophet’s blazing beard
is walking hard against the wind, headed East.

At the Yemassee station, riders advance
like sandpipers to the platform’s edge, retreat
when no train appears at the vanishing point.

Cars on the route home from Thanksgiving
slaughter slow beasts. Buzzards arrive, hopping
and flapping toward the providence they have been assured.

Valerie Nieman has been a reporter, farmer, sailor, teacher and always a walker. She is the author of In the Lonely Backwater and four earlier novels, three books of poetry and one of short fiction. A graduate of West Virginia University and Queens University of Charlotte, she has held state and NEA fellowships. You can find her as @valnieman on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and at

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