Driving The Central Line by R.T. Castleberry

Geography’s map marks
tiles of timber and tributaries,
hand-sketched borders of
sanctuary cities, sundown towns.
Locked between Main St. rail and mega-church,
sky striations of blue and white, circling shrike,
the homeless eye a padlocked city park,
squat in trash-trapped leavings
of ground broken for building’s foundation.
Rising condos leverage lives of low pay labor.

Blue Note CD jamming,
I drive this lane every day.
Sun-blast strikes my windshield,
I turn right, maneuver the scuttling passage
of blanket hobos, the smartphone oblivious.
Falling leaves flake sleep sites,
promontory of cracking stairs.
Ragged palm and pine trees intersect
destitute stores, desirable property.
I search streaked pavement like an artist’s panels–
left to center to right,
mark muddles of tatters, beer can bags,
old men sloppy in greyed Nike’s.
The damaged body stands but staggers.
There is a zoo, memorial fountain,
a park one quarter mile north.
No one here will see them.

I am a co-founder of the Flying Dutchman Writers Troupe, co-editor/publisher of the poetry magazine Curbside Review, an assistant editor for Lily Poetry Review and Ardent. My work has appeared in Comstock Review, Green Mountains Review, Santa Fe Literary Review, RiverSedge, Caveat Lector and Your One Phone Call.

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