By Craig Finlay
What I remember of South Bend is smoking in the back yard.
The small, short houses of a cheap and curbless neighborhood.
I could see the library across the river and found the trains
comforting. I remember drinking in my Adirondack chairs.
No, first, I remember drinking by the tracks on the way home
from work. Then, after the divorce I remember the Adirondack chairs.
Tossing bottles into the bushes. The library there in both.
I don’t remember the Studebaker plant. I don’t remember high-fiving
Mayor Pete from a moving car on Michigan Street. There was a moment
when it felt like there was a poetry scene on the build. I remember that.
Or crying when Alicia moved, or my nephew standing, watching
me leave his apartment for the last time when it was my turn.
I don’t remember anything about the St. Joe River, or the footbridge to work
or counting the soft, blinking red light of the downtown radio tower
from my room at the psychiatric hospital. I don’t remember the housing tracts
of Granger, a jagged wound ripped into some grassy opening in the woodland.
I do remember me, always using the hand sanitizer by my bed to mask the smell.
Alison, darting through the room in just a t-shirt, my dog snoring in the dark. ■
Craig Finlay is a poet and librarian currently living in rural Oklahoma. He spent most of his life in the Midwest, first in Illinois, then for the past seven years South Bend, Indiana. His poems have appeared or will be appearing in numerous publications, most recently, The Ilanot Review, Little Patuxent Review, Levee Magazine, and After Happy Hour Review. His first collection, The Very Small Mammoths of Wrangel Island, was by Urban Farmhouse Press.
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