he keeps it open for her memory, they say.
you can see there’s never any new merchandise.
you can see that no one goes in there.
so many shops have come and gone on that road.
so many shops have closed while he stays open.
if you go in, you don’t come out, they say.
he’ll scream at you for bothering him, they say.
the rust mars the once stylish sign above entryway.
the rust eats away at the metal rails of the door.
sun-bleached Kit Kats sit in torn boxes in the window.
sun-bleached soft drinks stand next to them, undrinkable.
you can hear him talking to himself, they say.
you can hear him crying too much, they say.
no light ever comes from inside that place.
no light ever makes the darkness brighter.
if there’s ice-cream, it’s all melted.
if there’s milkshakes, they’ve gone sour.
he’ll keep it open til he dies, they say.
he’s worth a fortune, they say.
he’s survived the wars and the changing tides.
he’s survived what no man wants to survive.
the boards on the windows hide glass smashed by hoodlums.
the boards on the windows make the place even darker.
upstairs is an old barbershop, old signs on display.
upstairs must be where the old man lives.
“I hope you’re around forever,” I say.
“Don’t let this big road beat you,” I say.
the old man doesn’t say anything.
the old man just sits in the dark.