PoetryIssue 04 | April 2009

Two poems by Leah Browning

Dinner with Mohamoud

He tells a story about arriving in America
during wintertime.  This was a foreign
climate, and winter had been described

in great detail.  He was prepared
for cold, for snow, for icicles
hanging from every branch and rooftop.

In his suitcase, he had a warm coat
and gloves.

The airplane stopped on the way to Minnesota,
landing briefly in San Diego, and he pressed
his face against the small oval of window

for his first glimpse of America.  Outside,
on the tarmac below, people moved about
in shorts and short-sleeved shirts,

their arms and legs bare, their pale skin
impervious to what he could only imagine
were freezing temperatures. 

Now, in the restaurant, his eyes are dark
with fatigue.  His sons are in a refugee camp
in Kenya, his wife dead.  But tonight

they are close by, and it is all right to go on
laughing faintly about the nuances of weather,
unaware that we are another year away

from the airport where he will again see his boys,
almost men, their backs unbowed despite the weight
of all these shifts in the atmosphere.

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About the author

Leah Browning is editor of the Apple Valley Review. Though the journal is a product of her time in Minnesota, she is originally from New Mexico and still longs for the mountains. She has authored three nonfiction books for teens and pre-teens. Her third chapbook, In the Chair Museum, is forthcoming in 2013. Browning’s work has appeared in a variety of publications including Broadsided Press, Queen’s Quarterly, Tipton Poetry Journal,  and in several anthologies. Visit her website.

Read our current issue:


Two poems by Anne Babson
Vignette, Townhouse, 9 a.m. by Troy Cunio
Night Becomes Day Over the West by Megan Foley
Yukon River Aurora by D. B. Goman
Two Poems by David Havird
Cretan Love Letter by Emily Linstrom
Holland by Rick Mullin
Fear in Kenya by Kristina Pfleegor
The Lounge Lizard by Ed Shacklee
Two Poems by Sarah J. Sloat
Night Flight by Vicki Stannard
Koinonia Farms by Alina Stefanescu
Thessaloniki, Four a.m. by Anastasia Vassos
Imaginary Oceans by Jason Warren
Two Poems by F. J. Williams

Postcard prose

It’s Salty by Kelly Hill

Travel notes

Anchorage in the Great Land by Karen Benning
The Value of Small Money by Megan Hallinan
Screensaver by Sandra Larson
Thirty Cents by Tommy McAree
Gokarna by Kate McCahill
Going Places by Rachel Miller-Howard
Susanville CA: Notes From The Road by Susan Volchok