Linda Gregerson

(August 5, 1950 / Illinois)

Like New

Poem by Linda Gregerson

The ones too broke or wise to get parts
from a dealer come here where the mud is red
and eternal. Eight front ends

are stacked on girders he salvaged too.
Ask for Bruce, he said on the phone, and doesn’t
crack a smile when you show up.
Twenty-four fifty if we find one, sister.

Bruce, it says on his coveralls, and Bruce
on the ones his helper wears. The routine’s so good
they’re keeping it. The taillight you can have.

Except for the traffic, the wrong parts of Baltimore
aren’t so bad: each house pulling
its straightest face, the curbs and stoops
lined up like a man inverting his pockets

to show he’s got nothing to hide. Construction
sites gone aimless and the detours
feeling more like home. You know

where to find a cheap lunch. Up front,
a woman hears the list through twice
before, as to a sweet and original
prompting, she picks fried trout.

Likewise the oyster shucker, pretending
you’ve asked for a straw with your beer.
He searches the counter above which reigns

a picture of Washington Stokes, retired,
who cleaned fish to order for fifty-nine years.
A girl on a schedule deserves
what she gets, and sometimes gets it kindly, earned

or no. Untouched by heat of sun or city
police, the fair-haired accommodate best
by having everything to learn.

But here comes your beer without a straw,
as though good nature were common as thirst.
Here’s Washington Stokes, who would understand
the strategy that lets the fool go free.

Comments about Like New by Linda Gregerson

  • Ratnakar Mandlik (8/18/2016 11:08:00 PM)

    A wonderful story poem with an amazing style of narration. Thanks for sharing.(Report)Reply

    0 person liked.
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  • Susan WilliamsSusan Williams (8/18/2016 2:36:00 PM)

    She just served up a huge helping of welcome to my hometown- very good images sprinkled throughout this poem such as: each house pulling
    its straightest face, the curbs and stoops
    lined up like a man inverting his pockets(Report)Reply

    3 person liked.
    0 person did not like.
  • Anil Kumar PandaAnil Kumar Panda (8/18/2016 1:43:00 AM)

    'here comes your beer without a straw' is very nice. Loved this.(Report)Reply

    1 person liked.
    0 person did not like.
  • Edward Kofi LouisEdward Kofi Louis (8/18/2016 12:07:00 AM)

    When you up! Thanks for sharing this poem with us.(Report)Reply

    1 person liked.
    0 person did not like.
Read all 4 comments »
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Poem Submitted: Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Poem Edited: Wednesday, September 14, 2011