Chicago Poetry Magazine –

"Marengo, Illinois" by James Madigan


Title image shows a nightime view of Buckingham Fountain in Chicago.

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Published September 1, 2022

Marengo, Illinois

by James Madigan
(Oak Park, Illinois, USA)

            Off the highway
out of our way
on the way
to Galena, Sandy's Café
filled with jackets
            of lumberjacks
            or camo
            or fluorescent orange.
We were the strangers from not there.

Sliding into a booth
            ordered pancakes
            and sausages
            patties not links.
I dropped 2 quarters in
            the jukebox
punched K5 and K7
Frank Sinatra
Strangers in the Night.
The chatter exchanged
for a smiling silence
            just for a moment
but I could feel
a new relaxed tone
when table conversation
The b side
Young at Heart
brought nods of acknowledging
goodbyes as we
finished our coffee
slipped on jean jackets
and headed West.

James Madigan is a retired librarian, enrolled in the Masters' Program for Writing at the University of Illinois Chicago. His work has been published in Mantis, Capsule Stories, Trouvaille Review, and others. He is the father of three daughters and lives in Oak Park, Illinois.

This poem is included in Poetry World #4, published in the Wax Poetry and Art Library.

Previously published in Chicago Poetry Magazine:
Riding in Cars With Black Boys

by J.Victoria

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