THIS OLD TOWN
Alfalfa bales placed like bingo chips
On the fields. Too much space
Between neighbors like they wish
To be alone forever.
He hates it here. He finds it boring
And without imagination. Tired,
Like someone's forgotten scrapbook
Boarded up old homes screaming
For someone to return before
They decompose and return to
The dust they tasted years ago.
Cottonwood trees and green and erect
But motionless, like the town
Itself. Something in the air
Never quite materializing.
The funeral home where he bid
You goodbye sits at the entrance
Of town like a vulture awaiting
The remains of the day.
The highway the town calls
"Main Street" is warmly the entrance
Out to somewhere. Anywhere
The wind blows, but here.
Even the trains' whistle is out of tune
Somewhere in the distance, like
It's mourning the loss of
Worned tracks no longer in use.
The headstone says you're here,
But he knows you're not. Only
The memories poets write about
And the telling truths remain.
He remembers their yesterdays:
Walking to church in rain or snow
To keep a promise you ride, giving
Your last dollar to please your heart.
Old floral arrangements have been
Rearranged to let the sun fill
Your name while around
You the birds sing.
The flowers are artificial tokens
Of someone's love or someone's
Guilt. It doesn't matter, as
Long as they thought of you.
The grass is green and fresh as if
You'd been tending to it, like
Your garden in California,
Where you lived like a queen.
This is the day The Father
Gave them to remember you, and
One of your offspring will forever
Choose between a tear and a smile.
This town doesn't deserve you.
And then again, it does. You were
Its breath and life and it was
Only alive with you in it.
Now that it realizes you're gone
It hungers and it cries, and he
Can feel it, like the grass can
Feel you beneath itself.
This old town has lost its luster
And its dreams. Now it exists
As a relic of a yesterday recalled
By your blood and his soul.