top of page

The Mending



Tenement windows glow like cats’ eyes.
Below, the scrapers, who must clean the streets
now that war is done, begin.  

Coarse tatters hang from scrapers’ arms as they salvage,
gathering jagged pieces of wood that have buried concrete
sweeping up limp springs
twisted iron
 cracked canisters
smooth black buttons.

Scrapers stoop and shuffle as one sinuous beast.
The sound of their feet seems muffled—
after the searing cry of a rocket the air never stops ringing. 

Oily fires cast light on the wounds of this city,
burn through days and nights; they are bright guiding points for the scrapers. 
The smoke does not stink, at least, not more than anything else.
No one knows the scent of geraniums,
coffee, wind on grass, or warm human skin.
That was the life of another people.

There is promise yet, but this is the mending.
The tenements wait, watchful lights ever-burning
as soft as down feather on the air of late summer.

bottom of page