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R.T. Castleberry

"All I Had Was Gone"

Draped in Union blue

I take a 12-month chip,

a copy of The Iceman Cometh,

cultivate a salesman’s grinning grip.

Miles registered in a company car,

a Valley trip lies ahead.


Spring becoming summer,

there’s a ghost in the garden,

a feral cat sensuous in the drying grass.

I light a Tiparillo,

block walk the gentrified greenery:

open lawn, fenced lawn, 

high oaks arcing the boulevard.

Black dirt dust from a truck farm town 

cakes a two-toned Chrysler. 

The 5-column church is silent 

this Thursday afternoon. 

Doors are locked. I tip my hat

to the service schedule set 

and framed in quarry marble. 


A Hickey-Freeman summer weight coat

is thumbed over a shoulder.

There is no place left I seem to see.

Cigar ash flurries in the wind.

Tied with a 4-hand knot,

The Countess Mara silk stays tight. 

An oil derrick figure on tie clip and cufflinks

mark ten years service.


Down a distant circular drive,

a lone boy pushes a bike.

He hops the seat, gains the pedals, 

wings around the median.

I’ll bring a survey team 

to this memory next week.

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