Mail Order Catalogs

Pewter loons, ceramic bunnies, and faux bamboo
are for the suburbs, and bird feeders in Tudor
and saltbox models, and tulips to force in delft.

But in smoky bars in small towns late on week nights,
where the old songs on the jukebox call in
their emotional debts only from habit,

for everyone’s derisively broke, and father out
in the washes and hollows from which men
drive vehicles to town to apply for loans for vehicles,

and from which women must buy a good dress by mail—
loneliness is the product and the customer gets sold to it:
country music, booze, and sunset shot through the cheesecloth

of topsoil powdered as fine in the dusky air as make-up
rich women wear back east. Once this darkening sky
was ocean thousands of feet up, and we were floor.

:: William Matthews, Forseeable Futures (1987)

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