this side of the train tracks

Where I live the blocks are mixed; past a stop sign a road is flanked with the large-wrap-around-porch-rehabs with perfect landscaping owned by upper-middle-class townies and tenured professors and but a few jaunts east there will be the drab sagging collection of apartments, sublets, and duplexes inhabited by those blighted by Central Illinois’ financial woes and students who are too poor or too bored or too wrapped up in the collegiate experience to care. A gray day makes the vinyl siding look even more stained and moldy. Passing one intersection I happen to glance at a hand-written sign outside a mud-toned house with dead lawn and cracked cement porch, enscribed in a black pen so light it’s barely legible. The sign read:

AREN’T YOU GLAD

IT’S ALL OVER?

A few blocks down, a yard bears a stenciled sign reading: “Study Your Bible.”

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