I’m Not Leaving

We live so deep in the valley
that even in the middle of summer,
we only get a few hours of sunlight a day.
When I say sunlight, I mean direct
sunlight. The other kind is fine,
but it’s different. To make the light
bounce around a little more,
we have pink sidewalks,
and some people cover their cars
with mother of pearl. They glue it on
piece by piece.
The one week in spring
when dandelion fluff swirls around
and collects in corners,
well, it’s just nice.
That’s the good part.
The bad part is winter
and the fact that no one
ever moves here, and when people leave,
they don’t come back.
They write letters begging us to join them
in the city, telling us they didn’t know
how bad it was until they left.
I get a little annoyed
at those letters sometimes.
They’re all stamped with the seal
of the city, which is a levitating eye
surrounded by skyscrapers and flowers.
We make fun of it, but I have to admit
I kind of like it. Why can’t we
think of something like that?

Jacob Chapman lives in Amherst, MA with his wife and daughter. His chapbook Other Places is available from Open Country Press, and his book Here Over Here Over Here is forthcoming from Human Error Publishing.

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