“Vacant Places” by Eric Roy

A photograph of a wrinkled and faded black T-shirt with the name of the heavy metal band Morbid Angel spelled out in red, angular, pointed block letters across the middle of the shirt. This font morphs together in a graffiti style, and several letters form symbols associated with this genre of music –on the bottom right leg of the M, there is an upside down cross; in the middle section of the letter G, there is a pentagram; at the bottom of the text a pitchfork, held by a hand extending from the base of the letter G underlines the word "angel"; and both the D and L at the end of each word has a devil's tail.

Labelscar, labelscar, can’t make out who you are
—Lord & Taylor, JC Penny, Sakowitz or Sears?
Corndog Craftory still exists! But Orange Julius
turned into a Magic Wok before it disappeared.

Chess King long deposed. Journeys come to its end.
Now that the Gold Mine’s gone, can I spend these
arcade tokens at the food court carousel? A man
stands over there, alone—attendant or nostalgic

predator? If only Dream Merchant had survived.
We could buy cloves again, the Necronomicon,
Morbid Angel shirts for our grateful mothers
to bury in the trash once we move back in.

Eric Roy is the author of a chapbook, All Small Planes (Lily Poetry 2021), whose hybrid writing concerns the ongoing opioid crisis. His recent poetry and fiction appear or are forthcoming in many print and online journals, including Bennington Review, Ploughshares, Poet Lore, Poetry South, Salamander, Salt Hill Journal, and Sugar House Review

Image: “Wearing my Morbid Angel shirt to the gym today” by Ernest Hilbert

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