They’re tearing down the baseball diamond,
the one down in the part of town
that used to be the bruise on our apple
but now is clean and upscale and new.
They’re tearing it down, and all I can think about
is all that dirt.
How silly it is to be thinking about that dirt,
and all the feet that touched it,
bare or otherwise,
and the things that spilled into it,
like the last sip of a sports drink
or ice cold water from a tipped bottle
or blood from a nose or unsuspecting limb
that happened to be occupying
the wrong place at the wrong time.
Did the dirt clump up under all the lost sweat,
and how many tears like hot bullets hit the
rust-colored ground, be it on the field or off,
where six generations of our neighbors
met and lost their first loves,
searched for missing pets,
or wished the sunny afternoon away
with the sweet bite of a cold lemonade.
Does the ground remember? Does anyone?
When the cement is poured,
and the carpet is laid down,
how much blood and how many tears
will hit that dirt again? Or will it just be buried?
I’m headed over there tonight
I don’t know what I’ll find there
but I’m sure I’ll find something.
Maybe just piles of dirt, and a rock to throw
into the field in the distance
to land on the green, green grass
and roll for some time
before coming to a stop
at the foot of a bulldozer.
I cautiously part my curtains
like spreading the pages of an old hardcover
too precious to be owned by you
and look through my window.
Outside, flurries of snow dance silently
and fall in repose
like a dancer at the end of the first act
waiting for the curtains to close again.
Were I younger, perhaps,
I would leap to the foot of my bed
retrieving my thermal top
and knitted cap
before bounding out the door and
thrusting myself into the snow
a multicolored beast
ravaging the pure white landscape.
And were I older, perhaps,
I would close the curtains again
and harrumph to no-one in particular
before taking my leave in my easy chair
and waiting for a well-meaning neighbor
to complete my task for me.
And although my spirit is young
and my body feels older
I am still the right age for this fight
so I trudge solemnly to the coat rack
and my thermal top
and knitted cap
(the one from that ill-fated trip
to Yellowstone, where we drove
all day to arrive and find
the town completely closed and asleep)
and dispatch myself into the snow
to shovel it clear with
foul words and morning breath
in the cold winter air
until I finally return inside
strip off my layers
and shower in the hottest water
my skin can tolerate
before getting ready for the day.
And while this injustice now feels raw
I know for certain in two or three months
I'll speak fondly of the silent snow
and the secrets it buries
watching through a curtained window
some early morning