I never left this college town,
Well, except for those ten years,
But that’s worth at least ten other poems.
Tonight, there’s this kid throwing up in a dumpster
Next to a campus bar I used to haunt as an undergrad.
The facades the same, but it could use fresh paint.
Every psychic trace of me has been swept away
In spilled beer and broken glass.
Its five below zero on a Friday night.
Moonlight spills in the hallway from my office window.
I’m still stubbornly waiting
For the best years of my life to kick in.
This Life is Fifty Per Cent Off
Everything is half-off, I consider the $2 power drills
Even though I own two already. The garage is picked over
Except for a table of beer steins, battery charger, and lawn chairs.
In the basement a woman complains about the lack
Of advertised items. But it’s Sunday, and the doors opened Friday.
You get what’s left, but what remains is dated and used, but built to last.
I know nothing about the former resident, nor do I wish to.
Don’t know if they are deceased, in hospice or retirement home.
I’m more into my own imagination.
Estate sales in autumn make me feel like a vulture,
sharp beak picking clean bones of someone’s history,
And end results of 9 to 5 40 work weeks and cookout weekends.
The house itself is wonderfully out of date, hallways smell of linen
And lemon polish. The spare bedroom’s sunlight
Spills on the quilted bed inviting you
To nap after a dinner served after morning church service.
You’d be welcomed to stay for coffee and dessert,
The silver coffee urn percolating into late afternoon,
Souvenir shot glasses waiting on brandy
Lined up on the kitchen counter
As if to say “Drink up! Cheers! Stay with us,
And watch The Green Bay Packers
Play the late game.
It was a good life we lived here.”
Troy Schoultz is a recovering college instructor. He is launching a podcast in 2021. He plays bass guitar poorly, and lives and writes somewhere in Oshkosh, WI.