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Linwood Creamery

By John I. Blair

Down our 1940s alley,
At the end where houses stopped
And the wilding world began,
The Linwood Creamery stank
Like lager cheese gone bad.

We never learned
Exactly what they brewed,
Never matched the concept “creamery”
With the seepage and the odor
That sometimes made us gag.

Along the back
Ran rows of wooden casks
Tipped upon their sides
As if for boys to hop
From one onto another

And three rude tanks
With ladders to their tops
Around which stories grew
About small children
Who had clambered up and fallen in.

But most mysterious of all –
The dark gloom beneath the dock
Where anyone with eyes
Could see there was, way at the rear
Where no one now could walk,

Some steps descending deep into the ground.
We’d dare each other, whispering,
To crawl back far enough that one
Could creep on down the steps
And peer into the doorway at the bottom.

I don’t know what we thought
We’d see, or find, or if the door
Might gape upon the bravest lad
And swallow him alive,
Never to be seen again.

Some sixty years have passed;
For aught I ken the door’s
Still there, unopened, still
A holy grail of fear
Putting Elm Street in the shade.

©2010 John I. Blair

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