My Hometown, the Hypothetical Guided Tour


By Dan Wiencek

Featured Art by Jasper Francis Cropsey

            First we come to the field
where I did not hit the winning
     home run, where no cheers rose
            up and the game ball went ungiven

     Beyond left field,
            the bleachers where I did not
    make out with my high-school
         crush, did not taste her perfume
                  or dodge her brother’s freckled glare

      This is the house where a family of
                color did not live, there, where
         that guy is hosing Chinese
                              menus off his car

     Then of course this tax attorney’s office, once
            the bookstore where I stole
                        Helter Skelter, which I still
                     visit in my dreams

                 Finally, this empty lot
          staring up at the sun like a vast
                   gravel eye, formerly the school where
     I never thought to imagine a future,
         where no one told me and I
             did not listen

                        that life could be a wave
      beating the rocks or

           a wind bouncing a kite—

                         taut string pinwheels,
               dips and swoops groundward only
    to right itself, to stay resolutely
                                                                in the air

                                              and here we are.

Dan Wiencek is a poet, critic, and humorist who lives in Portland, Oregon, and whose work has appeared in Sou’wester, Third Wednesday, Timberline Review, and other publications. His first collection of poems is forthcoming in 2021 from First Matter Press.

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