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Recorded as part of the Poem-a-Day series, December 18, 2015.
About this Poem 

“I feel like there’s more to almost everything, especially fireworks and gas stations, and while I’m usually left with more questions than answers, attempting to grasp the light in these seemingly mundane places helps me to believe that the world is a bit less ephemeral than it often appears.”
Kerry James Evans

Jack Rabbit Slims Convenience Store

It sits between the Dollar General
and Rescue Alley, begging
for change, white sign
with a Jack Rabbit dressed
like a ’40s gangster. Smug grin,  
he leans against a lamppost,
his cane no more relevant
than the red suspenders
clamped to his slacks.
In the parking lot sits a trailer,
where a guy who goes by Dino
sells fireworks with names
like Falcon Rising, Sexy Rider,
and Bada Bing! Bada Boom!
Nancy burns one out back,
and rumors about town
contend the ladies love Dino
for his sparklers and not for
his cherry bombs, which might
mean anything in Sulligent, Alabama,
where things are still simple
enough for a scratch-off ticket
and half-a-tank of non-ethanol gas
—a reminder on the way home
that there is more to life
than barely making it. Why,
right at your foot a 1952
wheat penny shimmers like
a pinky swear in a schoolyard.

Copyright © 2015 by Kerry James Evans. Originally published in Poem-a-Day on December 18, 2015, by the Academy of American Poets.

Copyright © 2015 by Kerry James Evans. Originally published in Poem-a-Day on December 18, 2015, by the Academy of American Poets.

Kerry James Evans

Kerry James Evans

Kerry James Evans is the author of Bangalore (Copper Canyon Press, 2013). He teaches at Florida State University and lives in Tallahassee, Florida.