Your New World

Matthew Thorburn

You’ll come back as something else,
the monk says, but you won’t
know it, and you think, OK,
what good is that? Out the window
you keep seeing birds—well, maybeit’s the same bird over and over
in his gray coat, his little brown cap.
Could be Uncle Jerry. He zips away.
It’s spring: the stone Buddha
with bright sun on one shoulder,snow on the other. People leave
coins by his feet. To a baby, everything
is a new thing, each time a first time—
he’s adrift in wonder, the doctor
says—while you stumble alongstaring at your phone. Where’d
your new world go? the monk says
or you do. Either way, you feel bad
they had to cut down that old oak tree
but the stump’s a good place to sit.

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Matthew Thorburn is the author of Dear Almost: A Poem. He has also published five earlier collections, including the chapbook A Green River in Spring. A native of Michigan and for many years a resident of New York City, he now lives in central New Jersey.

The Southern Review

Spring 2018

Baton Rouge, Louisiana

Louisiana State University

Co-Editor & Poetry Editor
Jessica Faust

The Southern Review is one of the nation’s premiere literary journals. Hailed by Time as “superior to any other journal in the English language,” we have made literary history since our founding in 1935. We publish a diverse array of fiction, nonfiction, and poetry by the country’s—and the world’s—most respected contemporary writers.

The Southern Review … represents everything that is good in the world of literary publication. Their dedication to aesthetic quality has been the gold standard in literary publication for over seventy-five years.”
—James Lee Burke

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The New York Times

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