spacer Bus Stops in One-horse Towns
Walt McDonald

Mistakes we made as teens
come back to haunt us by forty.
Slit-eyed and slouched, we tucked
cigarettes between lips,

in flipped-up sleeves of tee shirts,
nothing above our ears but butts
and ten-dollar haircuts.
The enemy was easy to see,

two-dimensional parents
with black-and-white advice.
We etched graffiti warnings
in shiny sunglasses even grown-ups

could read, sad rascals out of touch.
We sneered, shot pool, flipped butts
at mail trucks that made us wait
by the curb while girls crossed the street

and never looked back. Teen years
are bus stops in one-horse towns,
Who cares, stay here or leave.
Today, a gang of punks swaggered up

and bumped us on the sidewalk—
our own sidewalk, our own
tough neighborhood—kids
slicking back glossy hair

and sucking cigarettes, sunglasses down
to ignore us, the same message
we etched in lenses decades ago,
Good riddance, Don't come back.