Photo by Jeffrey F. Barken

A Stop Sign A Place To Stop

– Poetry by Lorena Parker Matejowsky

 

A stop sign red metal pole
a place to look right then left
leaning someone stopped
too late a woman tried
to stop it did a man try
to stop look three ways
to stop a store that sells
ice outside beside the stop
sign beside the tree the beer
joint inside a red place to stop
to chat to shoot pool stop
and stay awhile the same worn
wood floors worn boots
stop remove your hat hang your 
hat herea cold one a place
to rest a red place beside a large
oak tree in Colorado County hangs
a hat inside a store a country
store inside Texas inside a country
men and women inside sitting
stopping cars driving stop look
three ways hanging outside
the tree is outside on the highway
the place to stop and buy ice buy
cigarettes hang your hat beside
a map to the churches stop and
look inside the churches past the 
hanging treeshe said that is the
hanging treehang your hat inside
or outside get a map go see the
famous Painted Churches stop 
at the red signsomeone saw the 
tree stop sign did not see it leans
a little on the way to the famous
tree no famous Painted Churches
in Schulenburg just turn at that is
the hanging tree she said stop 
here no don’t stop the first church
hang a left it is famous we missed
it someone must know it is a man
                                    (no stanza break)
and a woman resting not stopping
it by The Hanging Tree of Columbus
not The Hanging Tree of Clarksville
not The Hanging Tree of Coldspring
not the Hanging Tree of Goliad
not the Hanging Tree of Halletsville
not The Hanging Tree of Kyle
not The Hanging Tree of Orange
not The Hanging Tree of Seguin
but a stop sign at the tree now hang
your hat inside the store with ice
and wood and rest have a nice 
day nice drive nice day to stop safely
then look left do not look right do not
look do not look do not look do not
look then hang a left up ahead
the famous tree the famous stop
the famous Painted Churches of
Schulenburg just past the tree.
***

Lorena Parker Matejowsky

 

 

Lorena Parker Matejowsky is a resident of Central Florida but spent her first thirty years in Texas and is still recovering. Her poetry was selected for the 2018 AWP Intro Journal Prize and Best New Poets 2018 anthology. She is a poetry student in the Creative Writing MFA program at University of Central Florida, where she reads for The Florida Review. She’s on the side of green beans being simmered for a real long time with a few pieces of chopped bacon thrown in for good measure. Twitter @LorieMatejowsky