Today's poem is by Elizabeth McLagan


I'd love to affirm suburbia,
find a way to praise a part
which is not a street or blocky
building, but the goods and where

they go, eventually, which is
down to me and the others,
sorting through piles, dumbloads
of abandonment, as even now I am looking

for something among the sorrowful
dresses and empty sheets, all the stuff
pouring out its plain sadness
until I can't want for anything more.

The parking lot's full of fog and rain,
and a man in a baseball cap looms toward me,
his big Chevy stranded. So we make
a mess in the crowd and I like

holding up traffic, our cars
almost touching, the engines moaning,
the hot smoke drifting between us.
When his car revives he admits

he would happily kiss me. I imagine
his wallet thick with pictures,
a pillowy wife, the sprawled accordion
of kids and their kids. And who

wouldn't love a man who has combed
for hours through the salvage, his lights
dimmed out? So why do I lower my eyes
to the warm bulk of his belt?

His fingers puff out around the platinum
dazzle of rings as slowly, gingerly
they uncouple the cables, those double-mouthed
snakes arcing blue fire.

Copyright © 2003 Elizabeth McLagan All rights reserved
from Iron Horse Literary Review
Reprinted by Verse Daily® with permission

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