There’s a mall cop perched atop
a Segway, riding an escalator,
and I marvel at this strange sight
near the food court. Fluorescent
lights onto shuttered stores dotted
with anchors that have been here
since I was a child. I drift to the playground
where exhausted parents stare at their cell
phones or into the distance while their
children scream and jump and cry
on plastic toys designed to look like animals.
I watch the scene, wishing I could stop time
and its relentless march over us all, wishing
I could close my eyes and will the B. Daltons
back into existence. So many things used
to be something else. I look at a jewelry
repair shop which used to be a novelty store
that sold small trees coated with gold. I’d always
wanted one. The mall cop rides past me, back
to the escalator, and I see my entire life cascade,
like the motorized stairs in their endless loop.
The trees with golden leaves that had once
beckoned me with their promises
of glamour, such as it was, are still gone.
Michelle Brooks has published a collection of poetry, Make Yourself Small (Backwaters Press), and a novella, Dead Girl, Live Boy (Storylandia Press). A native Texan, she has spent much of her adult life in Detroit. She has just completed a book of essays titled Second Day Reported.