F E B R U A R Y 1 9 9 1
EARTH DAY STORYby Stephen Sandy
Hear Stephen Sandy read this poem (in RealAudio).
I remember the dusty floorboards of wood in the streetcar
Of the Minneapolis Street Railway Company
And the varnished yellow banquettes of tight-knit rattan
Worn smooth by decades of passengers
The worn gleaming brass grips at the corners of the seats
And the motorman's little bell
Windows trembling in their casings as we crossed the avenue
Liberty dimes falling softly into the steel-rimmed hourglass
The gnarled hand of the motorman near.
My grandmother arranged herself against the seat
Her back as straight as a soldier's beside me
Her navy hat with velvet band
And net veil down making her head seem distant
Her dreaming smile and the patient Roman nose
A repose so deep; from my place
I watched her when we rode like princes
Rattling past traffic stopped on the granite cobbles
Riding downtown together, my hand in hers:
All that so much
That I love yet but feel so sadness for, that
Time crossed out like the trolley tracks taken up
Or entombed under the pliant blacktop of the modernized.
Copyright © 1991 by Stephen Sandy. All rights reserved. Used by permission.
The Atlantic Monthly; February 1991; Earth Day Story; Volume 276, No. 2; page 69.