Thursday, March 12, 2015

To Look for America

To Look for America

My greatgrandpa bought this land
and farmed tobacco
added cows for milk,
and chickens
for eggs.
His sons went to factories.
We lease the land
to agribusiness types
but we ride out
to see it 
when the snow leaves
and the road is as clear
as the sky.

My greatgrandpa rented the store,
rented the apartment nearby.
They moved to Brooklyn
to rent a bigger house.
When he died,
my greatgrandma moved in
with my grandparents
in the Bronx.
She rocked back and forth
in the chair we still have
and she fed the stray cats
who prowled through spring 
and summered
near the parkway.

My grandpa put in the sheds
for the cows.
He planted corn in the left
field. There were birds
and squirrels and other things
like voles
who tried to gnaw
but abandoned temptation.
Electric fences cost,
but they deliver.

My grandpa was night manager
for the Home News. 
My mom played as quietly
as she could,
The kids threw bottlecaps
in new sidewalk games.
You could hear their "threesies"
drifting up,
feathers of sound
as the bricks across the street

A bigger newspaper bought it out
but he stayed on.

Nowadays music thunders
through nights
when it reaches past 70.

Nowadays music drifts
over what people used to own.
No local farms here now.

We moved out.
We moved out, too.

I don't know where my home state lies.

And I too don't know the words 
that label 
a piece of ground
and walk it forth
into home.

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