‘Goodbye to Bucket’s’

South Fork Poetry: By Philip Schultz

Right around the corner from our boys’ grade school,
they’d go there — first with us and then, older enough,
with their friends — for after-school treats, Everett’s
bushy mustache always smiling behind the counter.
Thirty-three years is a long time to know someone,
let alone a grocery store, and one could claim that
three generations of kids passed through his doors.
When Augie, our 12-year-old, told me about the sign
on the door he looked away, maybe from the idea itself —
he already knows things change and sometimes disappear.
He knows more than he can put into words. A good
or bad day at school always meant a Snickers bar
or frozen Eskimo Pie, though finding a parking spot,
especially in summer, meant frustration, with all
the workers wanting one of his deviled egg sandwiches
(made only on Wednesdays). The middle school across
the street, the high school not far away, the railroad
station (where men line up looking for work), Bucket’s
certainly has seen its share of good and bad times (mostly
bad now), even when it was only a place to drive past
on one’s way somewhere grander. Places come and go
so it’s hard to say exactly why this one’s so special,
maybe because it’s impossible to imagine a town like
East Hampton, where so much happens that doesn’t stay
or belong here, not having one place unlike any other.
Or maybe it’s because of the children who grow up so fast
and then also leave. Well, Bucket’s, thanks and goodbye.
(Let’s just pray it won’t be replaced by another clothing store!)

    Philip Schultz's most recent collections of poems are "The God of Loneliness" and "Failure," which won a Pulitzer Prize for poetry in 2008. He lives in East Hampton.