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  • Route 7 Review

Kevin Brown—The Painter

She has the bird right,

even the shadow—

the pearl gray gradations

against the turquoise river—

because she has soared before.

But the bridge. The bridge

bothers her, as she scrapes away

one attempt,

then another,

and another.

She watched it for days,

walked it until she felt

her feet could tell her hands

how to handle it. But the bridge.

Her coloring is correct—

a combination of carmine

and burnt umber, splotches

of sanguine—but the bridge

doesn’t yet live

as only a painting can.

Because she hasn’t borne

the gravity of a turtle

crawling across her bare back

one careful step at a time.

Because she hasn’t stood as stone—

expanding on sultry summer

afternoons, contracting in

crisp winter midnights.

Because she hasn’t wanted

the water to pour through

her pores, to wear her

away over centuries.

But she will.

Kevin Brown

Kevin Brown (he/him) teaches high school English in Nashville. He has published three books of poetry: Liturgical Calendar: Poems (Wipf and Stock); A Lexicon of Lost Words (winner of the Violet Reed Haas Prize for Poetry, Snake Nation Press); and Exit Lines (Plain View Press). He also has a memoir, Another Way: Finding Faith, Then Finding It Again, and a book of scholarship, They Love to Tell the Stories: Five Contemporary Novelists Take on the Gospels. You can find out more about him and his work on Twitter at @kevinbrownwrite or at


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