Shortly before we moved away, the Ben Franklin store burned down.
Is it possible that I saw, in the ashes, a single cut-glass punch bowl
as if still on display? Is it possible that I saw this from the car window
as we left for Dayton, Ohio (the last move before the last one)?
The road out of town took us past that Ben Franklin store, and also past
my elementary school: Northrop, now torn down, from what I hear.
Still standing is the Rusty Nail: a bar, or a lounge downtown
that my parents whispered about. Am I right that there was a murder?
There was something unsavory, I know, and highly unusual for
Thief River Falls, Minnesota — this was years before the Coen brothers
punched a big hole in the folksiness of Fargo and towns for miles around.
I know there’s still a Rusty Nail because (get this!) I’m Facebook friends
with a total stranger who lived in our house before we lived in our house —
her parents sold 903 N. Knight to mine. Imagine! What a gift, not to lose places.
What a gift, when you only lived there for two years, but can still smell
the dusty screen door at Erl’s, where your smaller self bought
Archie comics and candy wax pop bottles, never dreaming it wasn’t
forever — never dreaming just how soon you’d be gone.
I regret that this one will almost certainly not present how I intended because it needed to be in long lines, which my WordPress theme haaaaaaaaates. Anyway, today’s prompt at Imaginary Garden with Real Toads was to write a poem that incorporates names of some places you’ve loved — inspired by the Canadian poet Al Purdy.