The white school house, covered with years of coal dust, looks so much smaller now. A rusty flag pole, white when it adorned, lies among the busted mine machines that cover the grounds once for play. The mine gone, the coal trucks only noisy ghosts in my mind, can I have lived here?

Its little flat spot up against the steep land of the hollow where it came to be, my place to learn and grow back then. Marbles at recess, oral book reports to a room with two grades, and the growling gray trucks, humped with coal, that passed all day.

Broken windows, like eyes that only light can see, sadly look my way. And a missing door with only night beyond seems to say, “Oh yes, I loved you then. I am not so bad. Look at you now.”


by Charles Hayes


Charles Hayes, a Pushcart Prize Nominee, is an American who lives part time in the Philippines and part time in Seattle with his wife. A product of the Appalachian Mountains, his writing has appeared in Ky Story’s Anthology Collection, Wilderness House Literary Review, The Fable Online, Unbroken Journal, CC&D Magazine, Random Sample Review, The Zodiac Review, eFiction Magazine, Saturday Night Reader, Cha: An Asian Literary Journal, and others.

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