Visiting a Town Where You Once Lived

The S curves down the last part of the mountain are still so steep you have to go slow, second gear, tapping the brakes, and from every other curve you can glance across your shoulder, over the shade trees hiding the houses and see the heat shimmers of the flat roofs, marking the late morning and the line of the main street. 

The town is still edged close to the hills that run down the valley’s eastern side, and the light’s almost glare is just as you remember, though of course, you do expect changes.  You will not see the faces you knew as you knew them.  There will be no fins on the cars nosed into the curb outside the café. 

But you do not expect the storefronts wearing the big new windows like designer sunglasses, Armani, Dior. You do not expect to see how they frame the displays of novelty shirts and hats, the trays of Turquoise buckles and bracelets displayed as if a local delicacy, or the handmade cups with the swirled glaze that someone you did not know has cast so carefully to be admired—or these people in shorts and sandals trawling up and down the street eyeing the gleaming lures, seeking out some special something to take home to remember they have been away. 

You do not expect to find there is now nothing you once needed in any of these windows.

***

Tim Hunt’s work includes the collection Fault Lines (Backwaters Press) and the chapbooks Redneck Yoga (Finishing Line) and White Levis (Pudding House).  Journal appearances include Tar River, Epoch, and Quarterly West. Tim is originally from the non-urban west coast and currently teaches at Illinois State University.  Academic credits include Kerouac’s Crooked Road, The Development of a Fiction and The Collected Poetry of Robinson Jeffers.

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