My Little Town

In my little town
dogs sleep on the street
and act affronted
when you drive on the bed.

My little town allocates resources
in proportion to priorities.
We have one school
two churches
and three bars.

The teenage boys in my little town
gather by the pond after dark
with big engines and little cans of beer.
They steal the Stop sign, stone the streetlight,
moon a passing car.
But at least
we know where they are.

In my little town some girls keep horses
in their back yards. Above the dogs and surly boys,
they cruise on saddles astride a big beast,
dropping opinions as they meet.

On the Fourth of July
the whole little town
has a big picnic.

The ducks on the pond in my little town
waddle across the road each afternoon
a milling, quackling crowd
round the door of the yellow house
where the lady gives them grain.
When it rains,
they swim on the road
or sleep there, like dogs.

On a cold morning
the woodsmoke of stoves
lingers like fog
in my little town.

We hold village meetings
where a hundred-odd cranks and dreamers
grope for a grudging consensus.

We cling to the side of our mountain
building homes, making babies
beneath trees of awesome height.
We work too hard, play too rough,
and sense daily something sweet about living
in our little town.



About the Poet:
Joe Cottonwood has worked as a carpenter, plumber, and electrician for most of his life. Nights, he writes. His most recent book is 99 Jobs: Blood, Sweat, and Houses.


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