The Town Below

They flooded the town to build the dam.
It’s buried two thousand feet or so below,
some rotting homes, a hardware store
of pig-iron rusting.
Not much of a place so they said.
And they swear that every corpse
since the revolution was exhumed,
replanted elsewhere.

And the few who lived there
gather on the banks,
have picnics, fish, or maybe
they just sit, pretend they see,
through murky water,
children playing in the streets,
old Victorians lit for Christmas.

Old Andrew talks up his first sweetheart.
Meg recalls the summer dresses
in MacAnnally’s store window.
Uncle Joe is up to his tears
in the Unitarian church
that he helped build with his bare hands.

Roy remembers the day
trucks came to the cemetery,
strangers with shovels
who dug coffins up like squirrel’s acoms,
left the earth to its giant holes.
The living are still down there somewhere
but the dead got out alive.

~ John Grey

John Grey’s writing has recently been published in Agni, Worcester Review, South Carolina Review and The Pedestal, and he has work upcoming in Poetry East and Cape Rock.

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