It was ninety-five degrees
as I slid into Joe’s front seat, cursing the temperature that
blurred my driveway and forced teardrops
to form on my forehead. Megan sits behind me,
glossy eyes stare out of the glass.
She is our perpetual passenger when it is
Tuesday, our day for adventure.
The sour tab numbs my tongue
windows opened, hair flies, speeding down the
curvy hill, descending into our valley town past
the penitentiary built on a hill the
Iroquois once found so beautiful,
they buried their dead there.
We pull through the sole light, my eyes
trace the fancy letters : JAMESVILLE HARDWEAR,
Contradict the dirty corner shop, cluttered
with lawn mowers no one will buy.
The red car slides into the depot, now a vacant
building in a slow plaza, a gas station, the post office.
Ghostly train tracks run still.
We wrestle our legs off
jealous leather seats. Eager to walk down the two
neverending lines, bright leaves, songs of ageless birds.
I cannot help but wonder who lived here
before we came and left these tracks.
My worn green tennis shoes carefully balance
across from Joe, as Megan hops from tie
to tie. Orange signs warn us,
A drop of anxiety boils in my stomach.
We aren’t supposed to be here.
The old cement factory, which all our lives has
haunted this old town looms
above us. Larger in person, I swallow sober fear.
Yet still, we walk closer. Ants in comparison to rusty
walls, broken windows shine in the late-afternoon sun.
I am the only hesitant one of our trio,
Do we dare disturb the rest of the
An empty noose swings thousands of storys above
us, attached by pranksters some daring night.
I peer down the long pit below. Mangles of bone,
no order to the fur, blood around it. Joe mimics my stare,
“It must have fallen in,” he shrugs
We climb to the highest point we can find inside the
rotting factory that once employed hopeful migrants. I watch over the
toy cars, rolling hills, dollhouses, Butternut Creek, and our
single stoplight slowly
A map laid before me, one I knew innately, born scratched inside my skull
now seen through my fuzzy eyes and stagnant mind. I wonder
Where I’m from.