Thursday, February 24, 2011

'Crushed in Poughkeepsie Time' by Lea Graham

    
    
Whale-rending along these shores leads us to South Seas, a silk factory, hotel burnings; like dreams’ net or currents one with another— hemlock-black,

brackish & lovely, fresh or tang, estuary’s switch.  That all time cannot exist at once in our heads: cigar-making & electric trolleys, how you bent & sighed into

your shoes, peeled oranges in the shape of eyes.  What is forgotten lingers, the “lion-headed store front,” bobs or busts through this now, a warning without

warning, can you dig it, a buoy of the past, place-marker & maker, tricked out as “picking your feet” in The French Connection, cough drops called “Trade”

& “Mark,” rising high school rafters in Marian Anderson’s contralto. 
Imagine histories current: ferries trawl nigh 300 years; Brando haunts Happy

Jack’s on Northbridge Street.  We might say Poughkeepsie & hear “reed-covered lodge near the place of the little-water,” “the Queen City,” “safe & pleasant

harbor,” look & see the Pequod chief & his beloved spooning in the shade.  This river sailing the Half-Moon back to Crusades, a city spelled 42 ways & young

Vassar brewing in Newburgh. Rio San Gomez is the Mauritius is the Muheakantuck is the Lordly Hudson, place of the deepest water & river

of the steep hills— what if we are still dancing in Chicago’s hottest summer as Wappingi braves are coming up the path & Van Kleek’s house just yonder

Fall Kill?  You are writing me letters from Rio Dulce & I am eating bagels at the Reo Diner.  Modjeski sits imagining this bridge; his mother swoons as Juliet

in Crakow.  At night the lights of these still busy foundries become strange fires, beckoning America—& maybe not; their great furnaces’ ambient noise, soughing

across these waters; concurrent worlds asleep, dreaming, not dreaming




(published in The Notre Dame Review, Summer/Fall 2010)

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