Cast Iron Distict at Dawn

Far down the street an engine curses and starts.
The sound startles pigeons, waking to pick
crumbs in the gutter, their undisturbed hour.
Sunday: no one is going to work.
All down the wide street no one is walking.
A torn poster blown against a loft window
draws the eye upward; note
the building's outmoded grace which survives neglect,
the high-arched windows and generous double doors.
The warehouses closed today, the rooms
where women and children sewed, bent-backed from dawn
through evening, empty for years now and dark as ever.
Here--iron grilles locked against storefronts--
the newsstand's shuttered front denies responsibility
and the long street never turns to look back.
It is a sinister hour, after all. In doorways
men are waking who begrudge the couples upstairs
their morning sleep. Still, morning unaware
comes with its blue light into the city--
a bloodless sky whose light arrives modestly,
evenly in every corner with a true innocence
that does not discriminate. The air is cool,
smell of the sea nearby, the expectation of gulls.
Trees in the park shake their leafless branches
tenderly, and the sunken amphitheatre
around the fountain, and the stones arranged
in their lovely diagonals, invite you. This hour
belongs to no one. Its peacefulness disturbs you
because it is uncommitted, like the dream
in which only you survive the holocaust,
like your own future which you will make out of streets,
buildings, forgotten faces, faces not yet imagined.

:: Cynthia Huntington, The Fish-Wife (1986)

No comments:

Post a Comment