babushka ladies, coarse and woolen coats,
plastic covers adorn divans and settees
in quiet parlors, front rooms in railroad
ghetto apartments

people to the left of me,
to the right of me, above and below,
whispers through the closets I hear
encounters that threaten danger in muffles
intended for someone else not me thank God
this time.

And Rivera still flies his pigeons
against bluest skies, a Latino silhouette
with arms extended like a holy man gives flight
to his flock over tenements and heartbreak,
the hope of generations, dormant and receding.

© Chagall 2015