Literary Yard

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‘Empty’ and other poems by J. K. Durick

By: J. K. Durick


What happens in a tourist town when there are no tourist left.
The restaurants and tour boats are empty or almost,
there are a few locals and families to help keep up
appearances, but empty is what empty does. Already
there are empty storefronts, those precarious businesses
that held together season to season, with nothing behind
their show windows, empty now, like the shelves and
display cases they left to collect dust and dirt, displaying
their wares. Now finally there’s enough parking, like
the merchants lobbied for. Now every tourist, every shopper
has an empty place to fill — the ghosts of seasons past
easily park, ready to eat and drink and buy, ready to fill
this empty season, this empty town with their further



I like the temporary
The passing
The brief moment –
Things that are
And then
Are not –
Bad things
Even the things that
Pass for good
These days
Are best
With short duration
A wink
A breath or two
An hour
A day
And then are gone
Have a beginning
Middle and
A foreseeable end –
It’s the impermanence
Of things
That’s endearing
The momentary
The fleeting
The short-term
The transient interlude
Easy to forgive
Easy to forget.




During the Middle Ages they had plague rats to blame,
the rats themselves or was it the lice that fed on them,
gave them a villain for the plague years, years that took
out large parts of their population. But now we dress up
a bit, not a plague, but a pandemic, no rats or lice, but
a virus, microscopic in size, something those medieval
folks could never really appreciate. We’ve demoted our
rodent population not to mention our tiny vermin, though
we will itch and see the rats we hide scurrying away to
do their rat business. I still remember rats running down
the middle of Woodbury Road while the city dug up their
hideaways to build a new highway. It was the 60s and
Donna and I would wait in my old Fairlane for the gangs
of them to run by, they don’t really scurry, we’d wait in
the car for a break in their exodus to get out of the car and
scurry up to her door. These may have been plague rats
for all we knew, lice and all, but they were busy with their
rat business of surviving the latest plague in their world.
In all this there should be a lesson about the balance of
history and nature – a plague on both our houses, or should
we be saying pandemic.


J. K. Durick is a retired writing teacher and online writing tutor. His recent poems have appeared in Literary Yard, Black Coffee Review, New Feathers Anthology, Synchronized ChaosMadswirl, and Highland Park Poetry.


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