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This city of mine used to manufacture board games; now our specialty is cemeteries. If you played board games as a child, even if you ever rolled a pair of dice, chances are they came from one of the factories lining the river that marks the city's southern border. All of those factories pulled down to make room for acres of new plots, except for one silent, brick building, a crematorium. Once upon a time, the city’s fortunes were determined by a spinner that told you how far you could go. Avenues stretched through color-coded squares that you counted out loud as you drove through the business district, past chutes and ladders, a chocolate waterfall in front of the post office. Now, wrought iron fencing gathers in new plots and markers. A success for populism. In a board game, only one person wins (likely your younger brother who hid phony money beneath the board), but in the cemetery, everyone arrives on a square marked Home.
A librarian living by the banks of the Connecticut River in Springfield, Massachusetts, Thomas O’Connell’s poetry and short fiction has appeared in Jellyfish Review, Blink-ink, Your Impossible Voice, Live Nude Poems, Hobart, and The Los Angeles Review, as well as other print and online journals.
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