funny, how the internet’s more permanent
than a coal camp
a town that can be erased when
the company switches off lights
well, not funny
maybe un-understandable
to my generation, but dad’s
well, the street you grew up on
just gone? he never says it like that,
but you can tell he thinks it
the more he talks about it
from his porch swing cushion
the houses, the many houses,
all in rows and occupied by
pickers, shovelers, foremen, wives,
drillers, blasters, mechanics, children,
friends, and you wonder
is it all half-remembered to him?
when you can’t go back, to point
at houses where they gave you big tips
when passing the newspaper, or that
old dirt road you used to take
over the hill on bikes to school
or the pit you dug, with the neighbor’s
mattock, pretending to mine for diamonds,
anything better than the dirty rocks
there, up a holler found only
on the internet now,
a place still on maps, its mouth still
opening up to the state road, where they
won’t even let you through the company gate