Sunday, August 09, 2015

The Through Line Part 1 1914

At dawn as curtains are drawn
In the children's room I can hear
harnesses clanking as horses
are hitched to their wagons up
at the drayage stables in the next block.

I smell blood from the slaughter
shed downstairs in back as Isaac
starts his day's preparations for the shop.
Dark men speak Yiddish in front of the Shul
as junk peddlers imagine prosperous finds

In the mud. Nothing goes to waste here.
I murmur to the baby in French so she'll know
when she grows the sound of a life more
than a butcher's wife, kosher or otherwise,
a life of thin hips and admiration

From some of the most gifted young painters
on the Continent. Those epic Homeric tales
of wild meaningful journeys, of intricate
detail, the white horse, the blue rose,
your mother one of the models,
a muse, yes, one of those.

It is not the smell of damp ink
or marble chips, this morning
but wood smoke, offal and the salt
we had delivered yesterday. Eloise says
there are a few new books in this week on the ships.

I'll send the boy when we can spare him
to the lending library. I want him to learn
more than how to handle the cleavers
and knives and look for old glass
up where the shacks used to be on the other
side of the trestle over this forsaken hole
in the ground they call a gulch.


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