Nowhere, USA

from by Redlands

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The old house has its ghosts,
friendly though most are,
I’m hesitant

The tire swing in the back
on the maple tree still hangs,
though tenuously.

The bulb inside has long been dead,
but still I find my way
by memory

For 18 years I walked the halls,
the wooden floors
still creak with every step.
Inside these walls I dreamt
of the day I’d fly away,
but with his death I’m back
for to pay respect
and stay in Nowhere, USA.

In the damp cellar late one night
years ago I took her hand, and I told her
what she wanted to hear.

I lost control nodding off
behind the wheel,
and crashed into the shed.

With my oldest boy beside me,
we glance in every room
and rap on window panes.
In the master closet
high on a shelf overlooked,
we find heavy box, full of notes, addressed to dad,

in a woman’s hand unknown.
So I ask my son to go
because he’s much to young to know
where a lonely man’s heart goes,
when apart two people grow,
like everybody knows,
though they tried never to show.
Mom and dad we know.
Mom and Dad know.

So I take the box out back with a match and tell myself
that no one has to know.
I light box and watch as the smoke fills the air.
When my mom steps out I wave, “It’s his newspapers,” I say. “I’ll be right in,” I say.


from Are you breathing?, released June 1, 2009



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