This Town Cannot Hold Itself Against the Sky

By | 3 December 2008

Walk a while in any direction and you'll find
a field
or an empty bottle
or a pop can filled with purple gas

It's not big enough to be a real city
but, heck, there's a mall
you could walk across it with three long-legged strides,
but no one does

They got them new VLTs at the motel bar
and it's always the mayor's wife
plugging quarters, with one eye closed
and her daughter's hips

swaying up the stairs beside the beer vendor
entering red-curtained rooms
peering out the window to pavement and weeds
chain-link fence around the back lot

Talk about
the weather
the crops
the price of milk

ask the girl at the greasy counter
not a girl really
she's been there twenty years
but ask her anyway

about the straight line of road
about her bubblegum lips
about the shallow lake,
its cavernous floor that swallows your foot

ask her where the water
comes from
where it goes
and why on earth

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