Picturesque – James H Duncan

Edward Hopper – Sunlight on the Brownstones

the place where you go to stare across the church yard
through pine trees and a chain-link fence to see
the apartment where you used to live, now unoccupied,
the landlord letting the place go, and you wonder
what became of it all, the front porch evenings, the church
bells that woke you all on Sunday morning to talk
of the night before then slipping back
into peaceful weekend naps,
the pipes that rattled all winter long, white
curtains billowing in the summer air,
and the knife you kept
on your nightstand in case the neighbor
became unreasonable again,
the sunflowers you planted along Morris Street
and the tomatoes you grew,
spiderweb cracks in every ceiling and every wall,
a world now hollowed out, swept up, boxed away,
walked through with the landlord, a deposit check
handed back, windows shuttered, electricity
turned off, no sign out front,
funerals we never attended, a cold wind sweeping across
church parking lots, lampposts illuminating a life
that doesn’t exist anymore

and maybe never did

About the Poet

For the first time in nearly five years, Vita Brevis is closed for submission. Read the full story here.

James H Duncan is the editor of Hobo Camp Review and the author of We Are All Terminal But This Exit Is MineFeral Kingdom, and Vacancy, among other books of poetry and fiction. He currently resides in upstate New York where he works on novels and reviews indie bookshops at his blog, The Bookshop Hunter. For more, visit

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