The Canadians will tell you that only rednecks live in America,

where it’s warm and everyone’s dumb except in movies.


Yet my ex with dual citizenship always comes back,

like a boomerang, in winter, where he lives somewhere so cold


he has to bang the radiator, or to DC, where he woos ghosts

and paints goblins in the theater, where no one goes anymore,


because it exists, like the  brown amphitheater

on the edge of town, creeping with weeds, next to Kiwanis park,


where the middle-aged go to eat Arby’s in shame, in public,

in broad shit-eating daylight, before going back to the office,


where they peck and phone and yawn

and do what I blame no one for doing,


because they do it for their families,

who love to pop to the Dairy Queens after the game,


which is next to the cemetery, filled with gravestones

engraved with their last names, which is next to the clinic


where their files read: diabetes, coronary artery disease, rx:

white kryptonite, still they plod up Sixth on Fridays,


in red and gold sweats, because the Trojans, who are fifteen,

are playing the Green Wave, who are also fifteen,


and they set up Webers on the yellow lines,

and the town smells like burgers,


and the black air fogs from the smoke and the stadium lights,

and the girls’ lips glow from the Smackers,


and the middle-school boys with acne stare in wonder,

and can’t wait for their turn to get their heads bashed in on the field,


come hell, high water, depression or seizure,

and the men come out in droves from the corn,


and their wives sell the tickets, and run the antique stores,

and the whole damn thing goes around and around,


like real life, like a Christopher Guest film,

except no one is waiting for Guffman,


and it’s not art, and it’s not supposed to be funny,

and neighbors really do help neighbors, and love matters,


and there is a god.




Photo By:  Tony Alter