The Old Home

What is Eau Claire
– my home town
should I consider it a collection of places
a half address on an alley off First
a house on Terry Lane
where I lived and played
as other homes were built
and inevitably inhabited by others
some of whom became friends…

What is it
is it family; is it those friends (even when they move away)
or is it memory, mostly lost
erased as if by tornado
razing to the ground every building:
homes, record stores, bars
where to then would I return to mourn?

A hilltop aspiring to mountain status
A conjunction of two rivers
Standing alone next to a Gargoyle
in Joynt ruins
Kicking rocks in Pickle rubble
Out on Business 53
looking for the Pied Piper
Who’s going to meet me at the London Square Mall now
When will, ever again, Cablevision be… worth watching

My home town is a time that needs no twisting winds
to destroy it; it’s already gone,
put on its death bed the day I moved away,
and left in my absence, room to become much more,
which it has, better, but not mine
belonging only ever really
to the centennial sturgeons
of the Chip
to the Mississipp
to the sea
the currents
around the world
and back to me
sucking tepid coffee
at the Chick-a-dee’s


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