Tuesday, February 22, 2011


Following Ghosts Upriver, 1

All these sad, broken towns
strewn with rusted oil drums
and pallets, stacked and rotting,
are my home, every one.
Along the Mohawk, the Niagara,
the oily Genesee,
run the tracks and the trains
and the passengers on their way
somewhere bright, somewhere
with a hint of glamour, somewhere
not like the dead little towns
they have left behind. I was born
under their rooflines, drank
from their sooty wells,
learned that their borders,
stubbled with briar,
were the edges of love; that grace
was a crumpled cardboard box
thrusting a flap skyward
from the sidewalk; and that
the evening fire beckoned to us
from the hearth
because it was dieing.
Watching the streets and the spaces
between them blur by, I know
I have been away too long in places bright
and not so glamorous,
but not so long, a voice humming up
from the engine tells me,
that I have forgotten
how to peel off my shoes
and pull a chair up beside the embers
and start to place my small sticks,
one by one, upon the coals.

-Marc Pietrzykowski

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