America’s Ghost Signs 1

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Contributor: Maureen Kingston

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An ecstatic woman
on downtown brick
holds a white jar
to her cheek. It cools
her blush.
What’s in the
mysterious jar?
I won’t know
for months,
until the restorers
raise the tagline
from crumbling stone.
All the rage--
saving faded script
from swaybacked signs,
maimed words
from country barns
centuries on their knees.
Why the sudden passion
to preserve?
More American
to tear down or paint over.
Our digital age perhaps,
our sense of touch
so deprived
we’ll reach for
cold-creamed faces
on concrete walls.

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Maureen Kingston lives in Nebraska.


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