Keeping the faith

by Kathleen Romana


Smoky vapor rises
from grates over city sewers,
swirls around garbage cans
through the half dark alley.
A cat darts down the fire escape
and there’s a baby crying upstairs.
Stray dogs separate from the shadows,
hungry, alert to every aspect
of every movement.

Early morning Barrow Street,
a brand new day tugs at the imagination,
full of origami moments
waiting to be folded into colors and shapes
and hung on a mobile of dreams.

Balancing on a steel beam,
tight rope walkers in Sunday clothes
cross the Everett Street bridge,
over train tracks, by the stockyard.
There’s a white church
bathed in rays of light,
fire and brimstone, peace and love,
instant incineration for the corrupt,
and comfort for the broken heart.
The choir sings praise music
and a great Halleluiah response
is crushed under the noise of a passing train.

Black and white photographs
(you’d really have to be there,
or read between the lines).
Smiling stills of spaces
between what had just happened,
and what was about to happen next,
taken with mum’s Brownie camera
and put in a box where the years
twist and turn, pile and slide, in random order.

Street cars screech around corners
and clank down Cambridge Street,
Commonwealth Ave,
to the subway downtown,
weaving around the old neighborhoods,
by brick apartments
and rows of three-decker houses,
the cobbler shop, the pizza place,
the penny candy store.

and that’s how it was,
the depth and the height,
connected, interlocked,
syncopated rhythm of all of life.
Years fly by in colorful procession,
time wraps around itself
and life lives within itself,
and I live within life, within time.
This isn’t deep time, just a short moment,
not important in any way, a series of nesting boxes,
and I still believe.

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