Little Town

Little Town

Money almost enough.
Sanity but not quite.
Mellow mostly.
Bowel movements plentiful.
Hunger at times.
Pain where expected.
Growls and groans,
grins and laughter,
in proportion.
Lambs and lions,
about 50-50.
Much more copper
than gold.
Sex and sickness.
Holiness and one barber’s pole.
Hardware store.
Movie house.
Tractors – second hand.
But much machinery
in general.
More than books
and places for a band to play.
Scant art.
Little style.
A lot of unmarried virgins.
A few of the other.
The ravages of time
but its familiarity also.
Endurance and bland coffee.
Bats in the attics.
Leaks in the cellars.
One Chinese restaurant
with a dragon
painted on the window.
Masons and their secret signs.
Church socials and yard sales.
Some fickleness.
Little amazement.
A handful of heroes
who came back.
A monument to those who didn’t.
Crows and pigeons
and a town clock
covered in bird crap.
Deaths. Births.
One factory, abandoned,
its shadow darkening
the passing stream.
The girl I called Jenny Wren.
Not her name of course.
But pretty
and impossible to talk to.
All of this surrendered
to the past
on the day I left for good.
Sign on the road out of town.
“Come Back Soon.”
Unconvincing.


John Grey is an Australian poet, US resident. Recently published in Soundings East, Dalhousie Review and Qwerty with work upcoming in West Trade Review, Willard and Maple, and Connecticut River Review.

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