It's the Little Towns I Like By Thomas Lux

It’s the little towns I like   
with their little mills making ratchets   
and stanchions, elastic web,   
spindles, you   
name it. I like them in New England,   
America, particularly-providing   
bad jobs good enough to live on, to live in   
families even: kindergarten,   
church suppers, beach umbrellas ... The towns   
are real, so fragile in their loneliness   
a flood could come along   
(and floods have) and cut them in two,   
in half. There is no mayor,   
the town council’s not prepared   
for this, three of the four policemen   
are stranded on their roofs ... and it doesn’t stop   
raining. The mountain   
is so thick with water parts of it just slide   
down on the heifers—soggy, suicidal—
in the pastures below. It rains, it rains   
in these towns and, because   
there’s no other way, your father gets in a rowboat   
so he can go to work.
Thomas Lux, “It’s the Little Towns I Like” from New and Selected Poems: 1975-1995. Copyright © 1997 by Thomas Lux. Used by the permission of Houghton Mifflin Company. All rights reserved.

Source: Poetry (December 1980).

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