The back way

By Andy Mitchell

Taking the back way to Circle K

I cross the tracks and turn down Railroad Street.

I feel like a drifter in a Fifties film

(one you might watch late at night

when you can’t sleep) great heaps

of ties beside the tracks, each  

with the makings of a bonfire.

A couple of codgers smoke by a rusty

Dodge pickup outside the Eli Bridge Company.

This makes me think of Eli Wallach

which in turn makes me think of

A Streetcar Named Desire

and then I realize it was Karl Malden,

not Eli Wallach. Never mind.

Somewhere along the way

Railroad Street becomes Wolcott Street.

Wolcott? Who was Wolcott, I wonder?

Must have been Somebody to have

a street named after him, even on

the wrong side of the tracks.

All the same, walking down Wolcott

doesn’t have the same ring to it

walking down Railroad does.

After making my purchases  

at the old Wareco station I pass the defunct

Andrews lumber company building, where

today the only lumber left is the building itself,

still standing with its regal – even Biblical –

name yet standing as well, climbing down-

ward from the rooftop grandly

to the sidewalk

where I, beneath it, lumber on,

making my own way, moving out from under it,

claiming no relation.        

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