Great Plains Food Bank

The wind is in the trees again, and I’m thinking it’s a wonder

the body can move. The way the mother at the Fargo food bank

fingers a can of concentrated juice. The way the line keeps

heaving forward. The way the child tugs the heavy skirt.

My job is to look for the elderly, help them load. Like the guy 

who grew up in Oslo and is still trying to make it to Bergen. 

It’s a straight shot on the train, he says, but you have to be 

in Norway to catch it. I lift his meat and yogurt onto a cart. 

I wait as he chooses nine of the least bruised carrots.

The trunk of his car has the smell of dried flowers, and his 

baguettes fit lengthwise easily. But before I help him lower

himself into the driver’s seat, and before his hands pass over

one another, turning into the northbound traffic, he tells me

I’m young. Tells me it’s spring. Says I should be out of here,

heading for Bergen. I know he’s right. I know he’s 

so goddamn right. I stand as still as I can as he leaves.

Reprinted from The Low Passions by Anders Carlson-Wee. Copyright (c) 2019 by Anders Carlson-Wee. Used with permission of the publisher, W.W. Norton & Company, Inc. All rights reserved. 

Anders Carlson-Wee

Anders Carlson-Wee is the author of THE LOW PASSIONS (W.W. Norton, 2019), a New York Public Library Book Group Selection, and DYNAMITE (Bull City Press, 2015), winner of the Frost Place Chapbook Prize. His work has appeared in The Paris Review, BuzzFeed, Ploughshares, Virginia Quarterly Review, The Sun, New England Review, The Southern Review, Best American Nonrequired Reading, and many other publications. The recipient of fellowships from the National Endowment for the Arts, Poets & Writers, Bread Loaf, Sewanee, and the Napa Valley Writers’ Conference, he is the winner of the 2017 Poetry International Prize. His work has been translated into Chinese. Anders holds an MFA from Vanderbilt University and is represented by Massie & McQuilkin Literary Agents.

NOVUS Literary and Arts Journal
Lebanon, TN