31 May 2006

Cross County Shopping Center

these entities, bareshouldered, move
as if in a dream, sleep in their eyes
as sunlight lashes down, searing over
their flesh, the air hangs heavy

mixed, as it is, with the smog and
smoke and wretched detrius of the
burning away of fuel in those
hundreds of cars beetling around

the center, your hospital and cross
long ago a memory, Woolworth's
too, and those lovely scents (french fries,
cosmetics, dimestore cologne, chocolate)

and William Tell long ago shot his last neon
arrow as sister counted out nails-- 2, 3,
4 - and totted up the final cost-
the cost indeed

with Wannamaker's and Gimbel's passed
out of time, time, we're left with
power tools and torches, baby clothes
and sneakers, ill-made garments,

Rosalie, you wouldn't believe it Rosalie

papered windows, waiting for this
promised rebirth, this renaissance,
for this 'center of your universe'
hemmed in by the highways, beige bands of cement

and still they move, implacable
slow-moving, heavy-legged, up the
hill to the Red Coach, drawn,
drawn always, to this center, always and

always, forever and a day, waiting
for Santa, bags slapping against their calves

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