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Small Towns by Loukia Borrell

I love small towns.

Everything is simple.

They have street names

like Main and East,

Church and South.

The doughnut shop

opens at 5 a.m., get your

own coffee and hear the cashier

complain about the local newspaper.

All in a row, the health department,

police station, dance school,

beauty parlor, hardware store,

funeral home and one Italian restaurant,

Anna’s, which seems out of place here.

For in this slice of Americana, there is no reason

to learn the difference between calzone

and calamari, or pecorino and parmesan.

This is a town where bacon and bourbon

are kings, and entire weekends are dedicated to both.

The speed limit is 35, then 25, so don’t go faster,

they’ll know. Those old men on their porches,

balancing coffee and crossword puzzles on their knees.

And the deer at the edge of town, making their way into

the forest, curling up for the day, tucking their hooves

under their white bellies, big, sleepy eyes dreamy

and ears wide open, listening for small town secrets.

Loukia Borrell was born to Greek-Cypriot immigrants in Toledo, Ohio, and was raised in Virginia Beach. She graduated from Elon University and, for 20 years, worked as a reporter and correspondent for various newspapers and magazines in Virginia and Florida. She is the author of Raping Aphrodite, a historical fiction novel set during the 1974 invasion and division of Cyprus, and two other books, Delicate Secrets and The Words Between Us. Her poetry and short stories have been published in Deltona Howl, Blue Heron Review, West Texas Literary Review, Voice of Eve, and , She is married, has three children, and lives in Virginia.

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