by Fred Shaw
I am not the Brooklyn, nor the Golden Gate,                     but I can get you
there from here.               I am a forearm, ulna and radius, pulling you closer,
like a handshake or a hug.     My cement holds the sweat of labor, the curse words
of one foreman, a bubble of air trapped   among the aggregate of sand and stone,
a breath from another time and place. In the dark, I can hear the hiss of taggers
bombing the gray spaces below, leaving        their pastel fingerprints all over
what’s hard and blank beside the rails and ties.  My steel girders and seams allow
the rolling whisper of tires.         I never tire of those bass lines rumbling
from car trunks or the titter of hand holding lovers walking up and down my vertebrae.
Bounded by sumac going red in fall and smelling like wet dog
by early summer, I watch the seasons change, see clouds as my inverse drifting overhead,
wait to be warmed by a shower of rays              or cooled by the hard rains tumble.
All day, I counter                 gravity                 forget my fear of heights or change
while bordered by church, school and row office             filling the gap
between the have         and the not               that crisscross these hills.
I am a homely ribbon pinned                      atop the beating heart of this place, waiting
Be on the lookout for the next stanza in February!
Updated January 11, 2022
Find out more about the poet Fred Shaw, his work, and more in this blog post.