the polski sklep has closed its doors

for the last time. And this morning
in the June heat, men are hauling
the awkward empty bulk of chiller units

from shop to pavement to truck,
already sweating. Cursing in a language
we claim we do not understand

but speak too well. A lexicon
of loss and hurt and pain,
the job that disappears

a ladder climbed that turns
to snake again. Small dreams stuffed
in plastic bags in overflowing bins.

On the other side of Market Square,
where the breeze cools, we stand
idle in shade, and watch.

The lad next to me is smiling,
confusing the hammer falling
– for once – elsewhere,

with something like a win.

© Steve Pottinger
commended in the McLellan poetry competition 2021