Population: 5

There’s an oily smudge 

                               on the rear view mirror

             and the driver of our bus 

is trying to ignore it—

                               and his passengers 

             are still trying

to wipe away the smudge 

                               stained into our memory 

             of a town where we stopped 

about 70 miles back:      shotgunned signs, 

                               mine-shafted hills,

              and five souls 

in a swamp-cooled tavern

                               who were very old

              and sat very still

at the untended bar

                               with their backs toward us

              as if we were never there,

and all of them humming

                               to “The Days of Forty-Nine”

              that played on the juke box

that sat in a dark corner 

                               under generations of dust

              with its power cord severed.
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2 thoughts on “Population: 5

  1. and all of them humming

    to “The Days of Forty-Nine”

    that played on the juke box

    that sat in a dark corner

    under generations of dust

    with its power cord severed.

    ^^^^ Beautiful and haunting.

    Liked by 1 person

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