Night falls suddenly when the sun declines
behind these granite hills. The boy sits on
the river side of the flood wall, his back
to the town. He smokes a cigarette, counts
the cars and tractor trucks on the state road
across the water. Wonders where they’re bound.
The boy would like a car, some way, any way
to leave the town, to drive past the farms
until the hills grow and the woods thicken
and sit beside the tiny stream that is the start
of this half-mile wide river. The boy rises,
heads into town. He walks past the little park,
a few blocks up Market, enters a tiny hot
dog restaurant, nods to Old Sam, who started
the place after the war. Sam knows, fixes
one with everything, uncaps a blue birch
from the old dinged metal floor cooler,
while the boy fingers the lone coin in
his pocket. Outside the wind rises and shifts.
Jerry Wemple is the author of three poetry collections: You Can See It from Here (winner of the Naomi Long Madgett Poetry Award), The Civil War in Baltimore, and The Artemas Poems. His poems and essays have been published in numerous journal and anthologies. He teaches in the creative writing program at Bloomsburg University of Pennsylvania.