Today's poem is by Alison Pelegrin

Shaggy's Soul Food Open Soon, Said the Sign outside of Tallulah

I once had faith in this message hand-lettered
on the side of a vacant building.
Now I put my money on the wrecking ball.
Since the four-lane opened a half mile
off the strip, only Bubba Suds Laundry
and Free Junque, an antique shop, remain.
No music but the blues for Shaggy.
With no prep work and no mouths to feed,
Shaggy could be anywhere. He could be
piloting this reckless crop duster that dives
with a roar before rising to answer its shadow.
He could be coiled to the chain gang
that picks the highway for its crop of trash,
or living at the motel between jobs.
You know the type. No matter what,
he's able to scrounge change for a Lotto ticket,
figuring one day he'll collect a windfall
of unlikely numbers. For now, it's hard luck
in the land of the lone gas station
that sells chicken wings and shotgun shells.
Land of the blind man with a harmonica
for a mouth. He breathes the blues
as if he were witness to what pains us most.
If he sent a postcard, the print would start out
square and get smaller, a diagram
of trumpet sound, the volume down.

Copyright © 2007 Alison Pelegrin All rights reserved
from Big Muddy River of Stars
The University of Akron Press
Reprinted by Verse Daily® with permission

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