Tag Archive: tenements

Fire Escapes Covered in Snow

Christmas Morning on the Lower East Side when I was five
I awoke to find a tiny white baby grand piano alongside
the tree that crowded the front room of our railroad apartment.
Not quite a toy, it was a real instrument crafted to stand
not two feet high. On the beautiful bench sat a card in script
that simply said Love Dad.

This year, for what would be his 100th Christmas, I will place
my hands on the keyboard again to wish him peace in silent night.

© Chagall 2016

August City


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

%d bloggers like this: