Elizabeth Hadaway
Dover Strip

Ground traffic's calm tonight:
the NASCAR track dark, Dover Mall
closed at its normal hour. No stoplight
in deer-plagued, near-sea-level Delaware
blinks down on honking crowds. The streets lie mute
now: no FM, no beach-week flirt or brawl
through windows open on the route
to Ocean City. Yet the air
above the Air Force base tears, roars,
sucked through, spat from the engines of the beige
transports that circle and prepare
to land their dead. It is against the law
to picture this. No photos of the stage
that follows the planes' pitch and yaw,

and I don't have access
to any of the tarmacs, cargo bays
of coffins, or forklifts. I can't impress
one image from inside
on you. Outside the base? Malaise,
miasma that the town's too flat to hide—

though the casino tries,
its slapped-up white cliffs mimicking the shores
of England, and the racetrack redecrees
the Roman Coliseum's
fiat. The E-Z Checks, the witchcraft stores,
the pseudo-Scottish rise
the golf course is rigged on, the plastic mums
where Uriel crashed (Chuck E. Cheese),

the Amish Flea that fenced
the rosebed stolen from my in-laws' yard—
they spread but can't climb far. The bottle shard
in bloom beside the road, always. Words minced.
A tollbooth sign barks, under a stalactite
of many-colored gum at the jet-swept
FOREIGN CHANGE." Pharaoh tracks the Israelite
dust cloud by Chariot™ brand satellite.


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