Welcome to our town

In honor of National Poetry Month, I shall be doing my poetry thing each Sunday in April.

To Richard Hugo, whose book of essays, The Triggering Town: Lectures and Essays on Poetry and Writing inspired this one.

“Welcome to our town”
the sign says, and I drive on past
a woman raking leaves,
an Amelia or an Emma who lost
her husband Patrick and her only
son Samuel to one war or another,
past a mailman dropping
letters into a mailbox
letters from a Carl
off at school somewhere upstate,
he’s majoring in violin,
past a Bill or a John or a Tom
standing on his newly mown lawn
watching me drive on past kids
practicing their football moves,
kicks and passes and tackles
underneath a billboard of “Home
of the State Champion Tigers”,
past a high school, a city on a hill,
red-bricked and one-storied
in the shape of a V for Victory,
brown-eyed sons and blonde-haired daughters,
dark-skinned girls and blue-eyed lads
emerging into the sunlit afternoon,
escaping a universe of lockers,
hallways and classrooms,
past two boys on blue bicycles
dancing wheelies and a fifteen-year-old
Sara in black leotards
skateboarding off the sidewalk.
And down the street apiece
a general store and three elderly fellows,
the Willis brothers with white beards,
a third clean shaven Kevin Leroi
with a John Deere embroidered on his cap
playing dominoes and swapping stories
and raising their hands to wave at me
driving on past a small white church
with a steeple and a cemetery, its gravestones
going way back to the founders of the town,
past the town square and the memorial
to the World War II veterans felled
on Anzio and Normandy beaches
against Hitler and his Nazi war machine,
and still I drive on, homesick for another town,
past the Diary Queen and the teacher’s college
and out toward the ocean of traffic on the interstate
with another “Welcome to Our Town”
sign receding in my rearview mirror.

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3 thoughts on “Welcome to our town

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