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Home, Which is Far Better

By Jessica Dawn

The banner smears blue and yellow and white across the grey sky, snaps in the gusts that rip through the streets, that catch the last leaves clinging to the trees, to the wiry little limbs, the spindly fingers waving—stop stop, they say—too small to slow the wind, too small because they are young, because everything here is young, everything has sprung up in the places where almonds and asparagus used to grow, where grass and grains grew before that, where the bowling alley was, the bar that smelled like cigarettes and feet but not in that order, the theater with the sticky floors, layers of spilled Coke and crushed Junior Mints like tree rings, carve a slice and read the history, count the first dates and last dates and sloppy hand jobs under jackets and soggy kisses over broken armrests, measure all the drinking and smoking and regret and exhilaration, all of it messy, sticky, pungent, filthy, forgotten, wiped away, wiped clean, buildings flattened, fields leveled, big old oaks ripped out to smooth the sidewalks, to make room for rows of neat, boring boxes of stucco and carpet and cabinets, for the kind of decay that turns everything beige, for a ghost town that doesn’t know it’s dead, worse than haunted, blank, no history, no memory, no ghosts left, everything new but the cemetery, but the headstones sinking into the dirt while the new roads and homes and trees grow, but don’t grow fast enough to slow the gusts, to keep the banner from whipping in the wind, so fast it’s impossible to read until it’s in the rear view mirror, plots available it says, big black letters on the white and yellow and blue, plots available like everything hasn’t been buried already.

Jessica Dawn lives on an island in the San Francisco Bay, she has been published in HAD, No Contact, Autofocus, Rejection Letters and more, she tweets @JuskaJames, she tries her best.

Photo by Jessica Dawn.


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