The Pool Hall

Garland Strother


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.