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Thursday, November 13, 2008


October 2008

by Linda Lerner

They came with saws, drills, a truckload of illegals
and plenty of 1990’s cash . . .

an old couple, their two family house vanished
as I slept . . . green disappeared in the green
that pushed up a building thru neighbors' anger
thru the dusty noise ignorance purified;

jackhammering echoed thru the city
crossing state lines; everyone waited for
this building that resembled every other one
going up to be finished;

a tree centuries old lay on the dead grass
behind a fence separating that property from
where I lived, leaving a concrete area
I looked out on, everything

cold, hard, and gray,
felt like November in March, April, any month
of that year, the next and the one after

when green shoots rose up
through cracks so small it didn’t seem possible
came up through a drain hole

and a sudden flowering of weeds, morning glories
broke thru the unfenced sides
tangled on the cellar banister where
cats lined up to be fed, eyeing the squirrels,
and sparrows perched on overhead wires;

is there such a thing as green sunshine
green silence?

some days no workers came where once
half a dozen; arguments broke out
among the builders, rumors of green drying up,
green teasing them everywhere they looked

and then can you hear it . . . that crash
like a tree felled, only louder, much louder

Linda Lerner is the author of twelve poetry collections, the most recent being Living in Dangerous Times (Pressa Press) and City Woman (March Street Press). Recent poems appear in Tribes, Onthebus, The Paterson Literary Review, The New York Quarterly, Home Planet News, and Van Gogh’s Ear. She has twice been nominated for a Pushcart Prize. In 1995 Andrew Gettler and she began Poets on the Line, the first poetry anthology on the Net for which she received two grants for the Nam Vet Poets issue. Its anthology remains on line although new publication ceased in 2000.