Since long before we moved here,
people have been putting up flyers
and others have been tearing them down,
and over the years this rash of staples has
spread over every pole on the street.
The poles tilt vaguely left or right:
they’re like splintered soldiers
in chain mail with sick men’s cheeks,
all chill to the touch. They remember
nothing of decades of lost cats, One Dollar
Tuesdays at East Side Harry’s,
apartments for rent or Ford trucks for sale,
that whole racket of wind and paper, sleet
and pigeon feathers, ripped and flapping and flown.
Merrill Oliver Douglas studied in the writing program at Sarah Lawrence College, and she earned an MA in English from Binghamton University in 1982. Her most recent publications are in A Narrow Fellow, Connotation Press: An Online Artifact, Barrow Street and San Pedro River Review. She lives near Binghamton, N.Y., where she runs a freelance writing business.