detroit (for j.)
(Photo by Travis Rupert)
Old bricks twist on shoes the same way
when the sidewalk is even rougher and we
walk in the street,
and the steam rises wintry
with that dankness
that nauseates summer
but is welcome in the cold.
The teeth of the glory days, those
buildings we never did break into, but passed
leaving crooked, white-knuckled,
they stand and some are clean
now, like we dreamed
they would be—like you knew
they would be,
palaces you re-designed
and put into your eyes rather than
someone must have seen.
Off in the east, the pheasants and elms are
still there—not as many—and the habitat houses
have aged into the neighborhood
and finally don’t stand out
and the market rings renovated
and the manhattans are still sweetest
when the jazz juxtaposes them, sharp.
The bars still serve your cheap Labatt’s
at a discount (if you come back),
smells best—clouds things,
even if the hockey sucks now
on the TV,
Stanley Cup years aging on the wall.
It’s found, everything, it’s
findable to an old-enough eye
as if to say we don’t need memory;
it’ll remember itself for us.
We left it well enough. To the hipsters and the
black natives and the dinks,
pan-handlers, Greek restaraunteurs
(who don’t serve Greek food anymore),
and whatever’s left of the Poles.
It’ll remember itself for us.
But it knows that you are dead.