Tracks down the middle,
the town splits on either side
like an open apple.
The tracks still mean
what they used to mean:
coal's old smoke still coats one half.
The town's alive and dead,
like a spring pecan tree,
newness budding through last year's death.
The old parts of town feel temporary,
though they've been there the longest,
and the Walmart looks strong
enough to last fifty years.
There are hints at the center
that folks used to walk: sidewalks now
give up their straight lines to
the sink of gravity. The storefronts'
picture windows are frosted with dust.
Those with open doors are anachronisms.
Those with mannequins and manufacture
behind the glass are museum pieces.
They have all the vigor of empty shoe boxes.
The First Street arteries rush
traffic past on either side,
stopping and starting according to
the eccentricities of the stoplights.
Motion away. Motion in and through.
Divided, Vidalia sits quiet and waits.
Sian M. Jones received an MFA in fiction from Mills College. Her work has appeared in Halfway Down the Stairs and the Eunoia Review, among other publications. In her day job, she writes as clearly as she can about complex code. She occasionally updates jonessian.com.