The Imagination of Nostalgia

We walked past old buildings
in parts of a town that
we were never certain existed.

Buildings put together to languish
and fall into decay
so that an onlooker might exclaim:
“look there, that was once…”
being so drawn in as not to remember
the rest of their thought.

We were in the imagination of nostalgia
where the buildings representing
old three-story family run department stores
lined avenues
filled with well-manicured
and cultivated flowers
both yellow and white.

We could hardly remember
what filled the old buildings now
but the dust that fell through
beams of sunlight
cascading through
clear display windows.

There was a barbershop
or at least the shape of one
where the old barbers pole
was clean and white
having lost even the most basic
familiarity with us.

There were old hump-backed bodies
of automobiles unfinished
no paint
no trim.
Only their wheels touching the ground
gave us the confidence
to call them by their name.

Truth was
the longer we looked
the less we felt
we could recognize.


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