Poetry of Kansas


I drive to the places I remember
as if they still existed. Some people
look at me perhaps recognizing
something about my smile, my walk
or the way I speak certain words.
I go to the place where the theatre
stood. In second grade I went to movies
where now there are only rough grey
walls. My grandfather, the one always
seen as suspicious, the artist, painted
the original interior in an Egyptian
style. Now the blue sky
is the ceiling and the wall
for the screen opens to cottonwood
trees along a creek. I bring my wife
and daughter to see this shell of memory
that encases the entire town. Here is where
my great grandfather had a bank. And up
these steps you will find the rooms
used by my great uncle when he
practiced medicine. My suspicious
grandfather presided over poker games
in the basement. He probably smoked.
We walk the streets and the alleys
where tiny tornadoes of dust
swirl around our feet
like the small words I learned
even as I listened to the radio
on a quiet Sunday night
a world away from the war
and my father's desperate courage
in the face of overwhelming odds.

__Michael Poage
© 2001

god won't overlook us
a book of poems by
Michael Poage
(Lawrence: Penthe Publishing. 2001)
Used by permission
October 9, 2001 / John & Susan Howell / Wichita, Kansas / howell@kotn.org

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