by Kevin Casey

O San Julián, the summer is close to its end
and I am still here at the end of the Earth,
in this Nueva Inglaterra, driving through the dark

to park nuestras caravanas onto their fairground fields,
to open up the Tilt-a-Whirl and the Hurricane
like half-rusted flowers in the morning at the sun rising.

Dear San Julián, my home in the green hills of Tlapacoyan
is missing me, and also my mother. I have comfort
only in the guitar music they make at the Melody Tent

when the night comes, and also in the sad, dumb vacas
they always show. But from these tractor pulls
and the groups of chamacos, unattended and disrespectful,

these corndogs and their cotton candy, I feel such longing
for the falls that measure out the length of my jade-cool river.
I will go back, with your blessing, San Julián, to pick bananas

every day in the weather, or to climb for the coffee beans
that grow on the sides of mountains that rise to heaven
from the arms of my blessed valley.

PHOTOGRAPH: “Sunrise, Veracruz, Mexico” by Robert Swinson. Prints available at


NOTE FROM THE AUTHOR: Though this poem is written from another’s perspective, I do live in New England and frequent the county fairs the narrator describes. The poem is therefore about my home, the narrator’s home, alienation/ dislocation, and simple homesickness. Each August, these traveling carnivals travel near my home in Maine, and the workers are predominantly from a certain part of Veracruz, Mexico. The Saint to whom the narrator appeals (Saint Julian) is the patron saint of carnival workers, of all things . . .

IMAGE: St. Julian, patron saint of carnival workers.


ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Kevin Casey is a graduate of the University of Massachusetts, Amherst, and received his graduate degree at the University of Connecticut. Recent works have appeared in Grasslimb, Frostwriting, Words Dance, Turtle Island Review, decomP, and others, and a new chapbook is due out this spring from Flutter Press. He currently teaches literature at a small university in Maine, where he enjoys fishing, snowshoeing, and hiking.