page contents

Seeing the Old Town for the First Time in Twenty Years
John Grey

The bridge rumbles as I drive across,
trestles shake.
Below me is yesterday's town:
abandoned mills,
brick crumbling, machinery rusting,
the industrial revolution's terminal ward
by the slow brown river.

It's the barren heart of winter
so there's no pretense in the bare trees,
the icy sills of the boarded up union office,
the snow dusted vacant lots.
the silent white-capped scrap metal yards.

At least the hospital has a new wing
and so, it seems, does the cemetery.
The ones who used to hold down jobs
are aging.

The peeling paint of
the house I grew up in
is a different color of course.
And there's a mere trace of a garden.
Or a fence.
To be honest, memory has a hard time
with what I see before me.

I spy a woman's face in an upper window.
She is as strange to me as anything else
in this town.
But I am where the strangeness ends for her.

John Grey is an Australian poet, US resident. Recently published in Schuylkill Valley Journal, Stillwater Review and Big Muddy Review with work upcoming in Louisiana Review, Columbia Review and Spoon River Poetry Review.