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Sunday in a Small Town


John Grey

The used bookstore is closed on Sundays.

The river walk glides by white birch, black oak.

and of course, that inchoate stream.

little current, merely ripples begging wind.

With door shuttered, that sign in the window

takes responsibility for all the blackness beyond.

With Copperfield and Hamlet and Quasimodo

more dust than light, all that's left

is the buzzing of water-dragons, the occasional

vaulting fish, staunch backs of the dog-walkers.

Up above, on Main Street, the cafe is serving brunch,

hardware store is open for emergencies,

churchgoers attack the thick wooden portals of St Matthews,

a woman shops a consignment store with pauper eyes.

Down below, I take a calm stroll, a half-doze on the bank,

watched by an inquisitive rabbit here, a chortling chipmunk there...

it's like nature in sensible shoes.

Done with the mind's ease, I do my duty

to its empowerment, its enchantment, with one more

lap of Main Street, stand sentry at Alexander Hornbeam's

Second Hand Emporium, gaze again at its sloppily

but intriguing display of classic hard-covers and local arcana.

My grandmother would say that the Sabbath

is God's day, not Victor Hugo's.

She never went to service. She never read "Les Miserables".

Meanwhile, the local brass configuration is on the bandstand,

oomphing up the air with John Philip Souza.

It's a charming assault on the ears.

On the green, two teenagers toss a Frisbee back and forth.

They're young enough to glide with the ease of that piece of plastic.

A couple, early twenties maybe, take up the call of eager hands.

Another pair, go far beyond cutesy, roll around in each other's arms,

kiss and hug - can the volunteer fire truck be far behind?

On Sunday, the town re-imagines itself.

Hectic becomes leisurely in all but love.

You can't buy a book but you can act like you're in one.

Quiz question:

When is the bookstore closed?







Work days

Work days

correct answers enable commenting.

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Issue 9


September 22, 2017

Sunday in a Small Town was written by John Grey, who is an Australian poet, US resident. Recently published in New Plains Review, Stillwater Review and Big Muddy Review with work upcoming in Louisiana Review, Columbia College Literary Review and Spoon River Poetry Review.  

i dont feel like fininishing this website right now and i am sorry

None of us know if

Jesus was up tight or would

have laughed at this prank.

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Issue 9

This writing was originally published in Opium Magazine, and is not listed in the archives.
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