I can't wait until spring break.

Before Boston

It has always been hard to imagine
the light reflecting off cobblestones
on Acorn Lane, or the sultry, magnetic
draw of the red-light district, especially
when the travel booklet glosses over
history in a few measly paragraphs.

Hawthorne sat here once, swaddled
in humanity's despair; Alcott over there -
see how the shadows are reluctant
to leave the soft crevices of her dress.

Does the city exchange love notes
with the dark, brooding waters of
the wharves when the sun abandons
its noonday zenith and runs off with
a lover? Does the Common mind
the unheeding tickle of children's feet
in celebration of uninhibited youth?

These pages cannot give me the
spirit of '76, nor the natural defiance
of nine men in Red Sox jerseys. The
wan glory of Faneuil Hall eclipses (at
least for a few moments each day)
the autumnal arches of my own coast.

It seems an inevitable thing, that the
river basin should beckon with such
long, languid flashes - perhaps Jay
Gatsby is gazing and dreaming at the
same lushness, life rushing forward at
the crawling pace of the stars. And
perhaps (just maybe) if I close my eyes
and let time and space fall away, I can
imagine myself as a stone statuette
settled next to ducklings and Revere,
perched on the edge of the world.

Before the hidden gravity of gardens
(not quite Babylon), before two long
centuries of vivid American dreams,
before lobsters eaten with reverence,

I can see the razor edges of life again -
Before Boston.