• Robert John Andrews

Poems: Mill Street

Mill Street

We rarely go to the halloween parade

much anymore, things change

fewer kids now to see

now our kids off and grown

use to sit on the curb in front

of the Commonwelath bank

use to be Commonwelath bank

on Mill Street and Market

bought out so many times

changes almost every week

I'm not sure of its name now

some conglomerate far away

we liked the bank's curb best for watching

though sitting hurt your back

especially holding little daughters

keeping warm on your lap

we had so much stuff to carry those

days we simply lacked the arms to bring

lawn chairs like all the grandma

and grandpa's did, lining the route

good place this to see all of them turn at the

intersection here, firepolice pointing

orange flashlight, coming up Market street

a sharp right turn downhill, downtown

good space for the littler ones for

scrambling for the candy, lollipops and

gum, tossed from the firetruck

by firemen in cashmeer sweaters

firemen seem always dress up like

hairy sexy women, never understoond

why so many fireman every year

loved to dress like large breasted women

parade sectioned off in divisions each marked

by high school girls bearing banners

I remember (how many years now) our

eldest did that once as part of Key Club

She and her friend (what was her name)

holding the sign on either side

marching in step, busy waving, our group

of friends yelling loudest to embarrass

you tried to tell your friends where you'd

meet for the parade so you could

rendezsvous, easier to keep the little ones

under control when you herd them

plus, with some other friends living down the

street, it was pretty convenient when

someone got too cold and needed a nip

of hot chocolate or else had to pee

besides, our curb was one of the closer

spots to the beginning of the parade, making

it not so far for dad to walk after he dropped

a kid off at the assembly area blocks away

where the kid would wander until he found

a friend, together they'd stumble into where

their cub scout pack was supposed to meet,

like them looking cool like cardboard knights

then dad, cursing traffic jam, would find a place

to park, usually at Coles or the church lot, then

hoof it half the length of the parade route, kindred dads

preceding, vanguards, with division 1 close behind

police car with full lights blinking announcing

marchers onward, blue arm with stripes

reaching out to wave to the crowd

daddies toddler pointing: see the police car

hard to miss it, really, but daddies must point

out these things; its what they do best

daddies born to the obvious, leaving

mommies to pass on the nuance

brownies costumed like playing cards

cub scouts in ligour box armor or wearing

painted airplanes strapped from shoulders

dads dressed like indians spied by friends

who cackle from the sidewalks,

obnoxios joking, getting even with their buddies

because last year they did the same

to me now its my chance to rub it in

purple and orange ribbons along the street

hanging limp from light poles and telephone

poles from homecoming a few weeks ago

when the football team finally won a game

soccer squads shivering in their little shorts,

Legion band playing, clarinets hitting high notes

as best as they can, they're not use walking

this much and are getting out of wind

every firetruck in the two counties makes

a siren approach, shining from fresh wax,

street lamps glistening off the metal trimming

the water canon, nozzles, and couplings

always wondered what would happen if

a fire broke out right now, but I

guess they got it covered, so long as the other

station houses aren't at their own parade

the local chapter against drunk driving

pulls their obligatory float of ghosts

and bottled bloodshed, demolished car, with

white faced girls fake weeping alongside

county commissioners tour from the back

seats of antique automobiles, mayor and

supervisors too, red chevies, fords, though

when did a mustang become an antique

highlight arrives, last division, with the high

school band loud drumming filling the entire street,

a hundred restless teens each dressed in silly costume

wish they would stop and play a few tunes

farm trucks followed by other machinery

tractors, lots of tractors, green tractors,

red tractors, little tractors, huge tractors,

endless tractors puttering by

little leaguers riding proud on flatbed

truck, having won the state championship

a few months ago, big cheer for them

bats and oiled mits proudly waved aloft

then its over, streets blocked off opened up

candy bar for every kid in the parade

maybe next year we should go again

take a lawn chair with us next time

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