Waverly, Oh by Vic Nogay

I’ll follow the canal down 104 South. I’m leaving my ghosts in Waverly.

I’ll note the things that the others choose to miss: The school bus deep in Farmer Ben’s lot, out back by the trees and the frozen soy fields. The engine compartment gutted, entrails spilling, windows blown out, soot stains on the body and frame. The baseball team crashed returning late from a game. Who memorializes the slaughter scene of a town’s most precious youth? I’ll leave them with their glory ghosts and shrouded shame.

First Pres will be next. Her afternoon shadow falls with a cadence on Dairy Joint. Their twin empty weed-cracked black top lots, unlined, cave and meet in the alley. Between their god and their dip cones, I’ll witness a brief transaction involving methamphetamine.

I’ll stop at the last red light before the buildings end. To my right, I’ll see an angel. A statue (right?). Demure, head bent, wings wide, hands folded in prayer, offering a contented grin to all her fellow derelicts. She sits in the parking lot of an abandoned bank, heavy but unanchored. She’s out of place. The bricks of the buildings are crumbling, the signs and advertisements have worn away, leaving sun-drenched sepia stains on yellowed whitewashed walls. Not even butts or beer cans litter the ground. No one comes around here anymore.

Dandelions surround her like a witches’ circle, but she is steadfast. She looks peaceful, but really, I think she’s sad. She hides it well, a good woman. It would break me to bear that stone-cast smile, while the block surrendered to a sleepy looming death around me. To be dragged to that death and be permitted to do nothing but pray and smile and hope. But then, I am not a good woman.

When the light turns green, I’ll pass her by, and she’ll join the imagery of the outdated and dilapidated. I’ll leave my ghosts behind, watch them cling to the farewell sign (“home of the Waverly Tigers, 1954 state baseball champs”). Lost luxuries from another time.

Vic Nogay is an emerging writer of poetry and fiction; her work tends to explore small traumas, misremembrances, and Ohio, where she is from. Her work appears in The Daily Drunk. After graduating from college, she discovered a passion for animal welfare. Her return to writing is a personal reclamation. Twitter: @vicnogay  Instagram: @ohiov.

Image: unsplash.com