Here’s a sad poem I wrote about a town in Southside Virginia where I lived for five years in the 1980’s:
Built Over Hell
We said it was built over hell
because it smelled like tobacco and sewage
because the snow melted as soon as it touched the street or sidewalk
because the summer in the cinderblock
convent shaped like a giant shoebox was breath stealing and smothering.
Later, because Steve Perkins died of cancer before he reached thirty,
and his mother did too, and so many others,
breathing that air all their lives.
Because the ghosts of the Confederate soldiers who died in the Crater
kept walking around on Center Hill Circle and scaring the hookers
with their sweaty, blood crusted faces, hoarsely calling
“Over here, honey!” in their chewed up lung throats.