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POEM: the ghosts of suburbia

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This is the kind of poem you write when you eat lunch in a cemetery.

the ghosts of suburbia
(for Bunny, whoever she is)

the woman with bottle-colored hair
locked her car door at the cemetery

perhaps an overabundance of caution
among these long-sleeping thieves
on this false-summer day

like the bunny named on her license plate
she darted from the car to a grave
bent over momentarily and was gone

before the trumpeter playing on my car stereo
finished the first chorus of his solo

this visit was less about communing with the dead
more about checking in
either to make sure they were still there
or to confirm to them that she was

it looked like a visit to a silent parole officer
Sergeant Murphy no longer a desk jockey
now pushing daisies rather than papers
in triplicate, two extra copies to eventually
go to the landfill, as Murphy himself has

a few hundred feet away she stopped
at a second grave, repeated the ritual

apparently her relatives had hedged their bets
against the day when the housing development
next door would expand into the cemetery

they’d spread the family around
to buy the long-term mourners more time

in this oppressive heat their presence
is Bunny’s challenge — a test of her willingness
to leave her air-conditioned Lincoln

she passes the test and is allowed to live
until her next appointment
with the ghosts of suburbia, the spectres

who haunt Lincoln-driving women
with bottle-colored hair

Published in Audio Poems My poems Poetry


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