Today's poem is by Chad Parmenter

Detour, Missouri

He was just a detourist, too nervous
to call anywhere but her pleasure centers

home. Oh, she tore them down, breaking up
with him. But he found a town. No,

founded a town that only detours led to
in a state that leaves the tongue as Misery,

He built it by himself, built it with skill
to make a demolition difficult

and beautiful as her. There: turn your stare
on him as he starts the crane, raises the wrecking ball.

Now see it takes the Detour Cathedral on its shoulder,
until they shudder and one turns to powder.

The power plant, flightless as a bat skeleton
on its macadam horizon, flutters and crumples

in the dynamite's gleam and bloom
and the smoke makes a naked ghost of her

that sizzles like a kiss across the town,
sticking to the strip mall as a skin of ash.

He blinds its windows with plywood eyelids,
and leaves it as a locked, hollow monument.

Even though the rest of the town explodes
into showers of pretty splinters, though

he punches the plunger with such hunger,
I demolish that detour of a character

with a spitting wind, because he can't undo
you. We were detours to each other,

in Missouri, and we knew it would end
in misery. But under the streets I've erased,

our bodies, giant, still tangled in the sleep

of abandoned foundations. Look at us stuck
in bedrock, and let us be buried there again,

and leave this detour to burn down to words.

Copyright © 2006 Chad Parmenter All rights reserved
from Cimarron Review
Reprinted by Verse Daily® with permission

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