He passes the old place daily,

The abandoned mill where his grandfather

Worked, made his livelihood

And sense of his life, making wood

Products, until the job went elsewhere.


He thinks about the old man now,

Several times a day sometimes.

His own father checked out early,

Disappeared, followed a dream

That didn’t include family.

His grandfather took him in,

Raised him best he could.

Good years, no matter what,

No one could take that away.


Now, his grandfather dead,

He’s on his own at thirty-eight,

On the road five days a week,

Selling party favors, cheap trinkets

Made in Thailand and China.

Party hats and blowers, confetti,

Candles that won’t blow out,

Napkins and plates with clown motifs.

Crap, every last bit of it,

All made by little kids worked numb,

Who never wear party hats.


He passes the old mill now.

He’s popping pills to stay awake,

Other pills to stay sane and numb.

He rolls down the window to smell

The field, the creek, the old mill,

He wants to scream but he’s too tired.

He’s already late for his appointments.

Venders depend on him, his party favors.

Many celebrations await.


by Christopher Woods




Christopher Woods is a writer, teacher and photographer who lives in Houston and Chappell Hill, Texas. His published works include a prose collection, UNDER A RIVERBED SKY, and a book of stage monologues for actors, HEART SPEAK. He conducts creative writing workshops in Houston at The Women’s Institute. His photographs have appeared in many journals, with photo essays published in GLASGOW REVIEW, PUBLIC REPUBLIC, DEEP SOUTH and NARRATIVE MAGAZINE, among others. He has completed a darkly comedic novel, HEARTS IN THE DARK, about a sociopathic radio talk-show host. His photography can be seen in his online gallery – http://christopherwoods.zenfolio.com/

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