#77 – The Last Record Store by Liam Day

Illustration by Randolph Pfaff


When will it die, a species
whose habitat we destroyed and partners mate
out of nostalgia and certainly not an appreciation
of the sound’s quality? In the morning,

every morning, the last star in the West is overcome
by light we’ve not seen in a day and a night.
It is, indeed, a diurnal matter, this life, this ride,
from station to station and back again.

At the end of Citizen Kane, signals
on the magnate’s radio towers go out one by one,
a reminder that, even for the great, existence is
random. In defense, we conceive of fate,

summon Darwin. The Gourmet Deli
in Porter Square was the White Hen Pantry where
I scored Marlboros. I smoked menthol, chewed Skoal,
but, of course, paid a price – yellow teeth,

cavities that need crowns insurance won’t cover.
Without teeth, though, you can’t eat,
are left at the mercy of the pack, who,
if of a charitable mind, might throw you scraps.

But who wants to live like that? Flicker in drafts
the warped windows let in, expire in a smokeless puff?
Better to draft a hasty business plan, chase
a market that’s saturated or, worse, disappearing.

Good luck attracting investors. What’s left:
an empty storefront on Mass Ave., a metal grate,
a bus full of strangers avoiding human contact
behind walls of head-phone injected noise.

Liam Day was born and raised in Boston. After graduating from college, he spent a year playing professional basketball in Northern Ireland. Upon returning to the States, he began teaching and pursuing a master’s degree from the Bread Loaf School of English, from which he graduated in 2004. His poems have appeared in
New Beginnings and online at Slow Trains and apt. In 2006, he was a finalist in the Black River Chapbook Competition. Liam currently lives in Boston with his wife. He is the Director of the Boston Area Health Education Center.

Read more MBTA Bus Poems by Liam Day