Richard Hugo

(1923 - 1982 / Washington / United States)

Death Of The Kapowsin Tavern


I can't ridge it back again from char.
Not one board left. Only ash a cat explores
and shattered glass smoked black and strung
about from the explosion I believe
in the reports. The white school up for sale
for years, most homes abandoned to the rocks
of passing boys--the fire, helped by wind
that blew the neon out six years before,
simply ended lots of ending.

A damn shame. Now, when the night chill
of the lake gets in a troller's bones
where can the troller go for bad wine
washed down frantically with beer?
And when wise men are in style again
will one recount the two-mile glide of cranes
from dead pines or the nameless yellow
flowers thriving in the useless logs,
or dots of light all night about the far end
of the lake, the dawn arrival of the idiot
with catfish--most of all, above the lake
the temple and our sanctuary there?

Nothing dies as slowly as a scene.
The dusty jukebox cracking through
the cackle of a beered-up crone--
wagered wine--sudden need to dance--
these remain in the black debris.
Although I know in time the lake will send
wind black enough to blow it all away.

Submitted: Monday, January 13, 2003

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  • Fred Babbin (11/30/2007 6:21:00 PM)

    I have a hard time writing about such mundane subjects. I wish I could. I am in a rut of writing about myself; maybe it's because I'm new to the scene. (Report) Reply

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