Diane Seuss

(United States)

Nothing lasts for long here


You can be one of the richest men in town
today and just a splatter at the bottom of your grain
elevator tomorrow, you can be a town in the morning
and by evening a pile of cinders, the old barber shop

went up in flames, Merle smelled smoke and ran down
to the fire station in his long underwear but it was too late,
all the guys were volunteer firemen but still their houses
burned, the lumber yard burned, later the Hicks house

and field fires out of control swallowing churches,
though never the funeral parlor, which was good
at staying where it was, and always things got built
back up again until these days, when what had been

the hardware store and what had been the drug store
and what had been the Uptown Tavern all burned
within a few months of each other and nothing
moved in to replace them, empty lots bulldozed flat,

Stack's place long gone, Irma gone, I remember
smoke spiraling down the barber pole like a woman's
long gray hair when she pulls out all the pins

Submitted: Friday, June 27, 2014

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