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NauenThen

Poem of the Week

Staying Awake

 

Dad loved voting

first in his precinct

he let me pull the lever

to clank-close the curtain

 

I step into a shimmering pool

but there's no water

the concrete waves in sunlight

what I reach for isn't there

 

what are you,

my Welsh cousin asked

Jewish? English? white?

not quite

 

Dad believed in voting

as immigrants do

and in America

& what we kids could do

 

how pleasant to be immortal

in sunlight flipping

through plane trees

neighbors with dogs walk by

 

they're at home

cops get ready

some challenge the air

some relax before they start up tough

 

it could be a hundred years ago

or a thousand

people dream

a future & a past & perch

 

right here, one laugh, one hairdo.

one steel can, a pigeon,

a schoolbus, a man

the air so rich we can't stay awake

 

You, not-old Chinese lady with curved back,

what can you tell me about your native town

or farm? Or is that the Bronx in your mouth?

the air so rich we can't stay away

 

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