Roy Scranton: ‘And nevermore shall we turn back to 7-11’

And nevermore shall we turn back to the 7-11,
to the slow river bridged by Market and the train trestle,
to WinCo’s late-night lot, to Denny’s or Lancaster Mall,
to violet-gold clouds blazing god-caught above the prison.
What roots, what blood, what fields plant me in the turning seasons
now in this nostalgia, now as we wander celestial,
take our shoes off for security and bend mystical
while filling out forms: residence, profession, and reasons.

The waiting gate is like a heart: the bodies pulse and flow
and my heart’s a foreign city, after dark, you’ve never
been to. No street’s the same, no face. You meander half-lost
onto a rusted platform past which the wrong trains echo
as if calling your name, this fluorescent light forever
cleaving rails and stars above, below this strange way we’ve crossed.

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