“Route 9” by Martin Willitts Jr.

Ekphrastic Challenge, June 2015: Editor’s Choice


Photograph by Alisa Golden

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Martin Willitts Jr.


Welcome to Laurel, Delaware,
population three thousand seven hundred
where the Route 9 sign hides
embarrassed to be associated with the Laurel Blue Hens
of the Eastern Shore Baseball League.
We are the proud home of many of our governors
and no one could care less.
We are the location of the sweet potato blight,
one of our crowning accomplishments.
Notice our balloon construction houses.
We like to put up a fuss about trash collection day;
it is almost a weekly celebration.
The Old Christ Church is located near the millpond,
has a flattened barrel vault ceiling,
but some say it is haunted by ghosts of slave auctions.
Route 9 once ran through a cow pasture,
but was straightened out by geography.
Saw a moose on the baseball pitcher’s mound.
Some say the result of the potato blight
was so many governors being born here.
Now I gave you the one minute tour,
do you still want directions out of here?
Most people do. Route 9 tends to disappear.

Ekphrastic Challenge, June 2015
Editor’s Choice Winner

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Comment from the the editor on his selection: “From Boston, where the photograph was actually taken, we journey down to the other end of Route 9. Willitts did his homework to bring the town of Laurel, Delaware, to life with the sense of false nostalgia that inhabits much of Americana. Both funny and sad, it made me see the photograph in an unexpected way.”

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