with apologies to Ted Kooser
The old gravel road has turned sleek,
a wide interstate, carrying
car loads of illicit drugs
hoping to evade detection.
Those tired ladies, the drab barns,
hide the lucrative crop of drugs
being cooked up by rough-looking
fellows never mistaken for farmers.
Here in the city yesterday
afternoon, the bomb squad strung
its convoy of sirens and lights
to the library, breaking the silence.
On a street corner, gatherings
of boys talking not cars and girls
but Monday’s senseless shooting
near our favorite coffee shop.
They leave us nervous, not wanting
to look too closely, not wanting
to slow down to admire street art
covered with graffiti you’d rather
not see. We drive on lamenting
that this was once our safe place
where everyone knew us and waved
as we passed,
this was once home.