john grey

The Drive-Through

gray forest
gives way to brown field
with patches of green,
cows in a field,
occasional pickup
rattling the other way,
cemetery overgrown with weeds,
the mill, its red rust gate,
a poster flapping,
“repeal the bill,”
road to the silver mine
that gave out years ago,
burnt out dance hall,
its polished wood just cinders,
a Chinese restaurant,
a diner, a bar
with swing doors
even in the winter,
plenty of booze, a player piano
that’s all out of tunes,
old men on benches
playing their memory
for a fool,
planked sidewalk,
historic jail house
that’s a feed store now,
stop for lunch, ham and cheese and Coke,
served by girl with red hair,
all about me echoes of boom, bust,
abandoned kilns,
boarded up hotels
their prices nailed to shingles,
“15 bucks a night”
wooden churches,
all that get a paint job these days,
bells that ring me in,
ring me out,
so cattle can glance up
from chewing,
that rings some more,
so bovine heads
can droop back down again

John Grey of Rhode Island has been published recently in Echolocation, Santa Fe Poetry Review and Caveat Lector, with work upcoming in Clark Street Review, GW Review and the Evansville Review.