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101st Weekly Poetry Contest winner: Coal Town

by Ryan Stone

Birds don't stop in this town.

I see them fly past, black peppering
blue, going someplace. I've given up
dreaming wings. This town 
will know my bones. Condoms
sell well in Joe's corner store - boredom breeds 
but breeding's a trap, a twitch in the smile 
of those steel-eyed shrews
who linger late after church.
I walked half a day, out past the salt flats,
after they closed the movie house down. Smoked
the joint she'd brought back from college
when she returned to bury my dad. 
I remember how pale her fingers lay
across my father's hands -
coal miner's hands, tarred like his lungs;
like this town.
first published in Eunoia Review

See all the entrants to 101st Weekly Poetry Contest