Todd Mercer‘s poem: Visitor from the Youth Dimension

Shut the front door! What have we here?

Long-lost school chum whose number

we misplaced back in the Bush years.

Welcome. Come in. What’s the story?

Why now instead of soon after our last visit,

or never for that matter? Are we cool?

Absolutely. Unless you came in search

of money. Can’t do much for that.

Tell me what your trials and errors

did for you on the East Coast? No way

you’re in town for longer than a visit.

If I’d landed in New York, no one could

get me to move back to this backwater,

either. I recall our youth, breaking vice laws

together. But now we’re citizens. Pillars

of the community. We’re the angry Dads

waiting late in living rooms for our own

errant youngsters to return from diversions

and social experimentation. Do you say so

if you know they’ve been out drinking?

Do you keep mum, glad to see them safe?

Is it a true promotion, working as Authority

after starting as a Rebel? Old friend here

out to prove reincarnation of friendship

is both a thing and possible for us.

He’s on to being version three of himself,

knocked down twice but got up twice

and more resilient for his trouble. This man,

like a brother to me, like a brother who wanders

away and doesn’t make phone calls.

Glad you made it. Is this closure?

Are we picking up the thread? Brother

of another mother and father, saying we should

get the banned back together. Asking, hey,

how is your sister? Asking how did

I used to tolerate this town?

Todd Mercer’s short collection, Ingenue, was a winner of the Celery City contest. His digital chapbook, Life-wish Maintenance is available free at Right Hand Pointing. Mercer has been nominated for Pushcarts and Best of the Net awards in Fiction and Poetry. Recent work appears in Fictive Dream, Flash Frontier and MacQueen’s Quinterly.

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