Lucky to find a place to stand, we’d watch
the money players shoot ten-cent snooker
for dollar bills, their handwork on the cue
a lost art, chalk on the tips a blue sign
of their intent. Money to spend in cotton
season, we’d play games of eight-ball
on a back table, no bets allowed, testing
the green-felt tops with our thirteen-year-
old pride. Never masters of the game,
we could always tell when someone made
a good shot. The room would become still
just long enough to nod praise and hear
the sounds of old men whistling the past.
Driving through seventeen years later,
I stop to look but the pool hall’s gone,
a dollar store in its place and no sounds
of snooker anywhere. Someone ran
the tables. On the way to an older south,
I fill up the tank and take the long road out,
leaving behind too soon the discount
signs of a good place we once called home.
A native of north Louisiana and a retired librarian, Garland Strother now lives in River Ridge near New Orleans with his wife Elizabeth, also a librarian. Garland’s poems have appeared in Arkansas Review, Texas Review, Plainsongs, Common Ground Review, Christian Science Monitor, Loch Raven Review, Innisfree, Flutter, Lucid Rhythms and others.