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Originally appeared in Issue No. 7

 

 
    
  
 
     
    
  
 

Shann Palmer

  

Goochland County, Virginia

Gray strip of street
two-lane blacktop
one light town
restaurant Quik Stop
drugstore can't shop
here for much more
than whatcha gotta
have right now you
knew that when
you came looking
for something you
can't find in a city
block it's the taste
in the last bite of church
pot-luck Sunday slice-of-pie
you can't fake that
and no warehouse
chain-store megamart
bakery comes close

it's Americana on canvas
and magazine covers
it's 50's TV shows you
watch to clear your head
like that time on your
birthday all alone Lucy
had a birthday too so
you cried together but
she got the happy ending
you talked to a friend
two thousand miles away
pretending a party
ain't technology grand?

Somehow we all get up
every Monday morning
take too much time
trying to avoid the IRS
the County Mounties
the fender of the dude
in the black muscle car
and any other agent
large or small that means
ill will in the guise of
serving protecting or
getting one car ahead
at the next red light

energy depleted we pack
up what we can move
to the fantasy we call
country living only to
discover you can't get
a plumber till Tuesday
there're rats in the attic
you've got shrink-swell soil
(some kinda sci-fi new-
fangled thing even Heinlein
never thought of) and the
little church in the back
woods is starting a two
million dollar building
project so wouldyapledgeplease?

two-lane blacktop
one stop light memory
blurred like local TV
reception when the storm
knocks out the satellite dish
and the power for four days
drag Mrs. Smith's
soon-to-be-thawed
apple pie outta the freezer
and close your eyes
to eat maybe Rod Serling
is outside doing the wrap
(I think I smell cigarettes)
maybe the trade-off
was an even exchange.

 
 

Joy

rises umbrella arched
rivers running in little falls
from crescent edges to dance
high kicks 'round my ankles

the water is wide and deep
disturbing my chuckle's quiet
caution better than apologies
after the fact after all's ended

we never die on video just play on
(the thing it's said) I have you there
as you were held in place paused
do what you will I have you there

accidents happen to other people
wrapped in plot devices fictions
truth isn't stranger always often
it's boring sometimes it's Winesburg

Ohio scissors and God's Trombones
reading aloud to chairs turned around
not that it's cold but we cherish comfort
like grandma's shawl shouldered at dusk.

   

Shann Palmer lives in Virginia, serves as Poetry in the Schools State Rep, hosts readings, workshops, and maintains a web-based events calendar. Her CDs and hand-made chapbooks are available from her website FlashPaperPoetry.
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