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Atlas

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Extreme exertion
isolates a person
from help,
discovered Atlas.
Once a certain
shoulder-to-burden
ratio collapses,
there is so little
others can do:
they can’t
lend a hand
with Brazil
and not stand
on Peru.

Kay Ryan, “Atlas” from The Niagara River.  Copyright © 2005 by Kay Ryan.  Reprinted with the permission of Grove/Atlantic, Inc.  All rights reserved. Caution: Users are warned that this work is protected under copyright laws and downloading is strictly prohibited. The right to reproduce or transfer the work via any medium must be secured with Grove/Atlantic, Inc.
Source: The Niagara River (Grove/Atlantic Inc., 2005)

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This poem originally appeared in the February 2005 issue of Poetry magazine

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Atlas

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