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Featured Poetry Winter 2021

First Tuesday

by Peter Caroline

Pops and crackles on God’s gray Earth
herald men and their tires, balding in unison,
leaning back and over pebbles in the gravel lot,
and coughing dust hot behind them.

and I, in a low cinderblock building
with a veil of sunlight spotlighting dirt and dust
feather-falling to the linoleum,
watch through a grime clouded storefront
while the radio beside me and a fly
far off somewhere, ducking behind rows of dusty snacks
struggle to see who can drone the loudest

the bell above the door announces guests:
farmers caked in clay nod toward loose cigarettes
our hesitant exchange strung together by broken words in the other’s language.

and a gray-haired man that could be my father
all knobbed joints and trembling fingers
scrapes daily at a lotto ticket with a filthy coin
that matches a lonely tooth gleaming in his face
like watery eyes looking at something far off

he leaves even poorer and above the door,
a stroke of orange at dusk paints the bell
and I hit the jackpot every time 

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