the cul de sac

Some folks are buried off Boulder Highway
in a cemetery that doesn’t quite, but might
as well share a parking lot with Pizza Hut.
I am three cheeses in, bowing my head
to the dead residents of Palm Mortuaries,
who I have no doubt still salivate
at the thought of a midnight crust comforts
and greasy pepperoni fingers.
I mourn their loss of such indulgences.

I don’t want to die in suburbia,
pushing dandelions just shy of the ninety five.
Put me in an estuary, even grind my ashes
down the garbage disposal before I am
laid to rest in a rundown shopping plaza.
This is, of course, an up and coming neighborhood
and someday Boulder Highway might be
the Brooklyn of Henderson.

But for now,
the Kmart, long since vacated with its signature
red K dangling from a few stubborn wires,
reminds the passersby of the blue lipped
blue collar backs that carried the recession.
Who once owned their very own homes,
but now own nothing. Who took photos
on hand wound Kodak cameras and said
grace before sticking their forks into
blue box mac and cheese.

I have seen the tinsel glittering from
pink rubber bike handles, I hate
the way kids laughing sometimes sounds
like screaming and I am unsure if I ever
loved the cul de sac where I spent my summers.
It was not a road exactly, nor an ending,
but the eager edge of something incomplete,
the round and smoothed over end of a limb
long missing. We stood in the middle and hurled
tennis balls at the sidewalls of houses,
kissed neighbors with gawky braces,
held sparklers until they flashed into oblivion.

Even now, packing my belongings to leave suburbia
I am unsure what mattered so much about the
tidy lines of plotted spaces. The lovely but
pretentious wreaths on closed front doors.
Doors that would never open unless by some
wretched misfortune, their young son
swallowed a bottle of tylenol or split his wrists
and we were invited inside to mourn his loss
lowering him slowly to sleep by the highway.


Volume 12.1 - June 2019

Emilee Wirshing is a librarian and lifelong Nevadan. She served as the founding poetry editor of Noble / Gas Qtrly and presently advocates for local poets and creativity by hosting various Poetry Open Mic Nights and writing workshops through Henderson Libraries. Her work has been included in anthologies Clark and Legs of Tumbleweed, Wings of Lace.