by Aaron Brame
to Jeannette, Pennsylvania,
to see the sloping streets bottom out
into gravel. And to show her
the battered yellow bungalows
burrowed into the hillsides
where once we dwelt in cellars.
Look at these.
A century of crabapple trees still
struggling by the front walks,
as though this answered life’s call:
trees dropping fat fruits into the gutters,
or all-night diners abutting darkened tires shops,
or trucks motoring too fast down Route 31.
There were glass factories here once,
I told her, men who spoke
Italian. Women who tended pepper plants
in basil-scented alleyways.
They’re gone now. Most who remember are gone.
But a remnant of this lingers
at the bottom of our meanings.
And brings us ever back.