Summer and Winter
in the Abandoned Cemetery
Between railroad tracks
and white-lined asphalt parking lot,
no borders fringed with cone-shaped arbor vitae,
no flat stretch of cut grass watered green.
Hidden in shadow behind tree
stumps and bushes, beneath two rows
of ancient wide-limbed oak and beech,
monuments and headstones crouch
for months in summer shade.
Now, oak and beech are colorless
and brittle, their ancient branches shorn
and stiff as fleshless wings.
Here, in the cold hard light
of winter, between railroad tracks
and white-lined asphalt parking lot, on plots
where grass has long since gone to seed,
each monument and headstone rises,
and the dead stand tall.
Street Signs 2018
Between Dixwell Avenue and Marne Street
(between regicide and river)
between American general and French field marshal
(between Pershing and Foch)
while the trash trucks bleat, the backhoe
wields its bucket like a hammer, leveling
the hundred-year-old homes of veterans,
grocers, barbers and the bakers of bread.
Pershing and Foch, at Dixwell and Marne,
remain untouched, their names writ large
on metal signs set on metal posts, posts
slightly bent and not quite plumb, as if by
doughboys shouldered hurriedly in place.
Day after day, while the demolition rages,
and a hundred years are laid to waste,
Pershing and Foch, now just printed names
on metal street signs–upright, but ignored–
await their final no man’s land of asphalt
parking lot, liquor store, and car repair.