by Hannah Stephenson
Stores die with the same velocity as bugs.
One day, humming, clicking. Shiny doors
parting like beetle wings. And then, gone.
Emptied out. A shell. The sudden voicelessness
of the SupeRx, its sign darkened and waiting
to be pried from the building. The town talks
about it. This is how they mourn. And when
the people of the town encounter those
they know working a till at the grocery store,
or behind bank glass, SupeRx gets stuffed
into the quiet between them. Always Did you
hear about the SupeRx, mmhmm, isn’t it
a shame. That a strange, new business
can rise to its feet in a body not belonging
to it. Blue signage plastered over yellow.
Shameful, the brutal reincarnation
of buildings. It’s a pharmacy again within
the month, sentenced to revisiting sickness,
the earnestness with which we fix ourselves.
Hannah Stephenson is a poet, editor, and instructor living in Columbus, Ohio (where she also runs a monthly literary event series called Paging Columbus). Her writing has appeared in The Atlantic, The Huffington Post, Hobart, Poetry Daily, and The Nervous Breakdown; her collection, In the Kettle, the Shriek, is now available from Gold Wake Press. Recently, she served as Editor for The Ides of March: An Anthology of of Ohio Poets (Columbus Creative Cooperative), and she is co-editor (with Okla Elliott) of the biannual anthology New Poetry from the Midwest (New American Press). You can visit her online at The Storialist (www.thestorialist.com).
[The above poem is from In the Kettle, the Shriek and is reprinted here with permission of the author.]