Newark Avenue, West
White doves, blue pigeons, black crows
perched on slack wires, draped between poles.
The factory boarded up;
Now it’s unaffordable condos.
Their first apartment was a rental;
The neighborhood not yet familiar.
The IV tubes that dangled into
her arms reminded him of those cables,
slung like yarn then swaying once the birds
took sudden flight, startled by
a C-Town truck clattering across a pot hole.
Their first kiss was during
the first movie they saw together;
Their last in that hospital room,
two decades after walking
Newark Avenue, west
when Forsythia lined the old graveyard,
a barricade as yellow as the sun.
Their daughter’s eyes will remind him
of her until he dies. They enabled him to endure.
She lays next to him, her chin on his shoulder,
his arm against her waist. This dream always
forces him awake, makes him fear going back to sleep.
She lasted six weeks after the diagnosis.
The cancer – pancreatic – never paused.
The doctor warned it can happen like wildfire.
Your death is unique until you die.
He remarried, plays with his grandson.
Lives near a park, takes walks alone,
watches cardinals hop from branch to branch
and mallards paddle across the pond.
Almost every morning
he remembers that spring afternoon,
strolling up a hill… an
old city felt new, her palm against his.
copyright 2013 held by author