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September 25, 2020

The Last Great American Small Town

Abigail Swoboda

Tourists take shits on their way to nowhere under the green light of the gas station in the last great American small town—where single dads suck their thumbs over the Sunday paper, where rednecks riot over stoplight suggestion, & where the clown who works at the Main Street tearoom taxidermy shop chain-smokes at the elementary school bus stop, ashes at the elementary school bus stop, snubs out her cigarettes with her enormous cartoon clown shoe at the elementary school bus stop.

& I think I might only have one regret. I think I regret

checking my email on my phone under the cloud cover of a light-pollution-orange sky as you smoked a North Philly parking lot joint with a friend who was leaving soon, because I didn’t know how to express that these moments hurt for me too even though I seem far away & fine & that I worry about all the times I’ve been the friend who’s leaving soon & haven’t realized it & that the only way I know how to deal is to make myself seem far away even though I’m never far away. I’m never far away. I’m never far away. I’m never far away & the Main Street tearoom taxidermy shop clown snubs out her cigarette with her enormous cartoon clown shoe at the elementary school bus stop in the last great American small town.