Historic Preservation IV by John Moessner

Blight runs a block dry, cut off
like a limb without blood, clots
stuck like leaves in chain-link.

I pass DJ’s Snack Shack on my way
to work at the downtown library. Closed
for the day, year, generation, a sign hung

perpendicular to the fading facade, a muted
beige, what once was white paint baked to
the color of creamed corn advertised in the window.

The next block over, on Cherry Hill,
lawns choke on weeds – thistle, crabgrass,
thorny brush – the fauna of unwatched systems.

I think back to the girl I married. She lost
her dad to cancer, some black-tar
asphalt patch greying in his brain.

She reminds me of this town, her sorrow
a kind of blight, growing over her smile,
weakening the reflexive hiccup of her laugh,
brittle, like blood avoids that part of town.

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