Death by Wind (audio only)
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I resisted spending money and I held fast
against almost everything, including
washing machines and cheap cars.
I lived by my wits, you know that,
and came back to America
with eighteen dollars in my pocket,
but there were many of us
mostly in Dutch freighters
that unloaded in Hoboken
in a voyage of potatoes and gravy.
Did you ever see how small the seedpod is
for the black locust? I wrote about that.
No one there to remember with me
the election returns of 1931
Hoover losing state after state
Roosevelt getting his speech ready
the first time ever on radio
my father starting to sing in Russian
moving furniture to dance the kazatzka,
nor is there anyone to help me with the words
of a song I sang in Miss Steiner’s chorus
nor anyone standing there with me in the blue
rhododendrons or sitting under the blossoms
of my dying redbud, not even brewing
a Kroger tea bag and reading the leaves.
There’s too little time left to measure
the space between us for that was
long ago—that time—so just lie
under the dark blue quilt and put
the fat pillows with the blue slips
on the great windowsill so we can
look over them and down to the
small figures hurrying by
in total silence and think of the heat
up here and the cold down there
while I turn the light off with the right
hand and gather you in close with the wrong.