where crayfish grab and moan, the tracks dust into planted grass, the town seeps through spring down hill and invisibly into old mudded oconee, nothing moves fast until well past the mill now with white coats and plastic boards looking over the explosion of a once-held river the crustaceans bury deep under the dumpsters, under the furniture and the copper-coiled cold heyday fountain, a delight into a glass bottle and now only rumored, and into the mountain we call town once tracks dug through bricked hills, the well-dressed students clung to brass rail, up down clayton street, i’m sure the buildings still held whiskey, beer, probably then no asian food, no pita, no burrito, only american here.
bells rang, alumni sang, the town was then already old, and pavers came with hot machines to change the roads for fords, chevys, trucks of boxes, filled with shoes, cases of cold drinks, the lines were drawn and the street as parking lot moved on.
though climate shed its waters to southern stages, and mussels disappeared, leaving few traces, the hangers left, the mills shut
down, the buttons were scattered to the altamaha and asia, but the tracks were there down the street, pulled by cables electric and taut, the trolleys had pulled over hollowed out cavern of shipments and boxes and sidewalk elevators, and a network grew under this small town, forgotten and dark.
it is told that the mayor has a key, and the cages by city hall deny not entry to restrooms or a jail, but to the hub of how it worked, halls by which freed men lit candles, and the early music played long and hard.
the subterranean streets, as chicago and new york, as rome and paris, are there, and now fill with water, delight in the river,
the boats that cold go scraping the ceiling as trucks hum delivery
on hot days the asphalt weeps the past, a fog rises just as we wake, nobody knows it is more than the nights drink moving on.
the one other entrance, past clanged horizontal flat door and the icecubed glass of the street, beyond rye bar and cobbled wall shown
mercy for effect of the life that was, a building elicits the entry to the history of athens, and how it did sail, how the Wuxtry did finally sail!
the mystery builds there: corner shop untold, boxes of vinyl and heavy bass, lifted above by flapping light pages, donald duck the most shredded and old in the wind, soon to be unread, passed along to prefer the more recent fabrics of comics, graphic novels, and the occasional flagpole - the weekly - hung to dry in the breeze of oconee.
the shreds filter down to the water, the crayfish, the muddy river, the lake beyond, the hills of dead, the lounging student leaning head on oak tree, girlfriend by knee well-keeled the building does float, and who knew? it is the ship held by harbor in a town afloat a hill, eddied downstream from the piedmont, the stony end of appalachia, the woods holding the current.
any of this could change. the building could sink, any day.
as the drought builds, the records must sell, ballast beyond the mass of the comics above, the lined heroes, the buxom sidekick,
the aghast tale of adolescence re-told in dark ink and extravagant face or stipple. but today the Wuxtry sails, you’ll see.