Childhood’s Home

Hope mills in memory
The portal to its location
Is well marked and guarded
I drive down 301 South
Past our little white house
Looking for bits and pieces
Of childhood lying broken
In the reflection of headlights
Fewer cars on the road
And less to distract thoughts
The house lights are never on
And the old place sits quietly
Looming in the dense shadow
Of darkness unforgiving and cold

Lady Slippers

Pink ones were blooming in the holler
When she pulled hers from the chest
Along with her best Sunday dress
Makeup on her eyes and face was
Strangely surreal but dreamy
In an airbrushed sort of way
She was most beautiful
And had recently begun
Meeting the postman for sex
Riding with him Wednesday afternoons
Out by the lake off the old saw mill road
It’d been going on for a month or two
Her husband found out Monday
Anonymous tip left on his cell phone
He had two days to plan his action
He sat down next to the car
After he shot them both
And then killed himself
They were all bleached bones
Before a hunter found the
October skeletons reflecting
Against an autumn covering of orange
Two pink lady slippers
Dangling by straps to bones chalk white

Grove Street Mart

Martha worked second shift
In a convenience store
Three o’clock afternoons till midnight
Selling mostly cigarettes, soda pop,
Beer to college students
And wine to derelicts and strays
From the edge of town

It was on the seedier side of things
Where pimps and hustlers cruised
Hawking for wayward souls
Those dark sheep out
Seeking to satisfy frailties
And willing to pay cash
In order to fulfill those lusts

Weakness fueling weakness
Immorality is a discarded prophylactic
Dripping with the ejaculate of mankind
Truth resided there too, blotched and stained
As the store’s blood marked floor
Where an armed robber once bled to death
Top of his head blown off

Martha always said she wasn’t afraid
She worked third shift too, as a vice cop.

Nathan is a carpenter/poet living in the mountains of Tennessee. His poetry has appeared at Red River Review, Tamafyhr Mountain Poetry, Lily, Underground Window, Zafusy, and Blue House.

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