Linda Melick was a recipient of a National Endowment for the Humanities Grant and a Sonoma University Grant. She lives in the Hudson Valley and writes poetry and short memoir pieces. She has been recently published in the Slant of Light Anthology and the Wallkill Valley Writers Anthology.

Timbuktu

I have decided that my dead mother
lives in another place
called Timbuktu.  I write her personal
letters on lacy stationery telling
her how her hometown has changed.

Every storefront is occupied.  There is a Vietnamese
restaurant next to the newly furbished hotel.
When they lived there, Mom and Dad, they couldn’t
even find a pizza place.  Dad had to hang out
in the tractor store to hear some manly banter.

No Lowes, no Home Depot. They did not exist.
No tattoo parlor, nail salon or micro-dermal
piercing palace, puncturing wherever you want.

Would mom have fancied a naval ring?
Would she have ordered pho?
Or would she have put her foot down,
yeah, Mom. Turned her back on
“Try Yoga, first time free.”

Would she have sounded off
to the street corner guru,
asked for Sugar Pebbles at the Whole
Food Store?  “Dear Mom”, I write,
“remember Gerty’s Grocery?  How we
laughed because it only carried
one brand of beer, soda, soap.”
But we got used to it. No
decisions, no stress.

Mom, Gerty sold out to Taco Bell.  

Who is minding the store?
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