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On Returning to My Hometown in 2035

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Even the gun shows are gone now, even
the scrapyards, the darkest, farthest barns.
The strip mall half empty since
my elementary years abides only
chemicals now, the lot sequestered
behind fences, its metal tanks checked
each September for leaks in the seals.
I lost my virginity in a basement here, lost
my balance on a backhoe, had to pick
the gravel out of my knees. For the prom,
my date was the tank man just vaporized
in the heat storm, his data screen open
to augmented porn. This morning
in my Honda pedi-plane, I flew over where
we used to sled, old hills oranged now
for warning, only the edges still brown.
I saw a denier sitting outside
in a lawn chair, her hair so long
it met the ground. There’s no idling in
the skyways now, which is why
I can’t tell you if she was dying.

Source: Poetry (January 2014)

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This poem originally appeared in the January 2014 issue of Poetry magazine

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On Returning to My Hometown in 2035

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