Anita Mechler: Ode to Finkl & Sons

 

Being steeped in a place

Knowing the corners of it

Where the dirt lives and bits of hair

Assigning memory to season

To train tracks and sidewalk cracks

How many years does that take?

You were a shortcut through a neighborhood where men yell at me

from their expensive sports cars.

10 years have gone by and they still do it.

I pull up next to them and ask what it is they’re trying to say to me

as they roll up the window and keep it there,

Acting as if they know nothing,

surprised I say anything back.

Will it ever stop them?

It’s odd looking at your destruction

Your chunky rubble

Once lively and peaceful in turns

A winter wonderland mantled with snow

Lit conifers, muffled crunching

A silent tiny abandoned city.

I’d ride by and feel the heat of iron being cast

Sparks and fires unimaginably large

A surprising warmth on a hot summer night.

Leaving you and crossing the Cortland bridge,

skyline in full view in the absence of your buildings,

wondering if there were more hidden avenues unexplored.

Over that bridge above filthy water,

the buildings of the city rise up like bookends

and I know I’m not far from home.

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