The Street

The Street
Everyone in this town
knows it was built
on water and what
that water carried –
grain and lumber and power –
west to east. Mansions
stand on that history,
parks and avenues
fanned out like
Frenchmen on parade.
The only things
that flow through now
are themselves liquid:
words, drink, hallucinations.
Still, Buffalo is a queer place.
Our pride perversely swells
with each loss.
You can hardly find us
on a map now.
You can hardly hear us,
though wild-eyed prophets
and refugees from around
the globe show up daily
as if in answer to a call.
And we give off a musk here
our sweethearts smell
when they are far from home
that guides them back again.
Like Salem, you might think
this place more myth
than city, but we have long since
ceased to know the difference.
You can hardly see us
if you’re not from here,
we grow so translucent.
Sherry Robbins, from Or, the Whale, BlazeVOX [books]

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