A city never thinks of itself as Ashtabula:
lights off at 8 PM, grey snow banked
on the corner. Blocks so short that a turn
off Wade onto any of the stunted side
streets leads back to the main drag.
On Great Lakes, a Honda dealership:
a flock of inert cars, sleet moving down
rows of windshields. Where another city
would boast a blazing marquee, the Apollo
on Schenley is closed, either for the night or forever,
it's Ashtabula. In the ticket booth, the velvet
curtains lean against the dusty pane.
Around a sharp curve, the guardrail
is smeared with bumper and bent
back like a boxer receiving a jab to the cheek.
Beyond the city, the fields lie flat under
the dark yawn of sky. Down the highway
is Akron, sullen in the opposite corner.