Coal Town

It’s open link night at dVerse tonight, so I thought I’d repost an older poem for the occasion.

Coal Town

Birds don’t stop in this town.
I see them fly past, black peppering
blue, going someplace. I’ve given up
dreaming wings. This town
will know my bones. Condoms
sell well in Joe’s corner store – boredom breeds
but breeding’s a trap, a twitch in the smile
of those steel-eyed shrews
who linger late after church.
I walked half a day, out past the salt flats,
after they closed the movie house down. Smoked
the joint she’d brought back from college
when she returned to bury my dad.
I remember how pale her fingers lay
across my father’s hands –
coal miner’s hands, tarred like his lungs;
like this town.

Ryan Stone

First published in Eunoia Review, July 2016.

Winner of the Goodreads Monthly Poetry Contest, August 2016.

First Place in Poetry Nook contest 101, November 2016.



71 thoughts on “Coal Town

  1. “This town will know my bones…” ~ So moving & evocative, Ryan! You really transported me to another world with this one. Well-deserved as always. Congratulations! Power to your pen ^_^

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Congrats on the publishing! This is wonderful, especially with the picture. When I read this,I get the feeling like this coal miners dust, and debris from the coal mine covers everything and everyone in this whole town; as if it’s choking them. Keep up the great work 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Pingback: Please Help! | days of stone

    • Hi, Marcella. Thanks so much for your kind comment. I love to hear when a poem connects. You’re most welcome here – I hope you’ll find more that you like. Thank you for taking the time to leave me some feedback-truly appreciated. I’m glad you managed to get away 😉


  4. “black peppering
    blue, going someplace” … I love this.

    “This town
    will know my bones.” … This is so awesome alone, but then the added layering of “Condoms” makes it even more interesting.

    “boredom breeds
    but breeding’s a trap, a twitch in the smile” … So good.

    “after they closed the movie house down. Smoked
    the joint she’d brought back from college” … Your line breaks are the best!

    That closing. Oh my word, you’re REALLY gifted.

    Liked by 1 person

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