BellaOnline Literary Review
Grand Opening by Carol Dandrade

Table of Contents


Empty Pockets

Jeff Burt

Without money, we take a drive,
an idle loop that has no wrong turns.
The tires agree with every road and street.
Old churches and rural prayer houses
seem to sag with a suffering weight,
as if there’s not enough work done
to uphold the toil done centuries before.

The looking straight ahead makes miracles
happen to our tongues—truth and compassion
roll off more easily than face to face.
We cannot retreat when the only direction
is going forward even when doubling back.

Brush burns, a small fire. Two men
tamp with shovels while a woman on a tractor
detonates with laughter. Up in the hills
near Davenport, the day’s last surfers
pack their boards and peel their wet suits
like plaster from sculpture. Dogs yap,
happy to have been away from home
and happy to be returning. In the dying day,
in the low hum of hawks overhead
and the murmur of the receding tide,
we could not have paid for this.

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