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There’s a Town Around Here Somewhere

By William Eichler


US 13 crosses over Dover, Delaware

like a sternum over a heart.

The highway exists so that 

the town may be seen, never heard;

never heard over the sound of 

a car full of college kids 

arguing about where to find food

on their way back to school,

never heard over the sound of mom and dad

picking out a place to stop for the night

once they’ve gotten a few hours up the road,

never heard over the sound of a couple

driving back from the beach,

with a pair of sun-tanned legs up on the dashboard 

and a Biggie Smalls song playing.


US 13 runs through Dover, Delaware

the same way every child who grew up here does –

straight through, without looking back,

heading directly to a beach or a city 

that can fill actually the space it was given.

The highway exists so that

restaurant chains which 

sit so close together that they 

have shoved out all the local joints 

can convince someone to stay an extra 

forty-five minutes for a conversation that is

cheaper than their reheated dinner

that will leave them feeling like

a pessimist’s glass of water.

US 13 passes through Dover, Delaware

like a ghost through a wall, leaving 

whoever saw it wondering

if there is anything stopping them

from doing the same.

The highway exists so that 

a casino and a race track can share a name 

and passersby can think that 

there is something to be said about 

a pass-through town’s main attractions 

being things that are designed so no one can escape.

Further down there’s a mall with a movie theater

with an exit sign that has hanged itself

because everything has to leave here somehow,

and after all that, you can just drive 

until you reach somewhere else.

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