Maple Ave School
When the school was being built
and was nothing more than a hole
with foundation sides and rebar,
I walked over from Spring St.to take
look. Looking around after all was a big
part of my seven-year old world.
A two story house near where the circular
drive would ultimately start, was being torn
down as part of the destruction/construction
process. Standing in the front doorway of this
house was an old woman looking at me.
I guessed that she was being forced to leave
for her eyes were full of loss.
The doors, windows, and even front porch
had already gone and a car to the side was
being packed with left for last things.
Front door to back door I could see straight
through the house to the yet to be born school
on the other side. Over the years I’ve imagined
this woman who stood stalk still as the subject of
a short story, but fiction always seemed wrong –
I just didn’t know enough. And now sixty years on,
I think poetry seems wrong, too because
a poem is a small made thing and the scale here
is much too large.
So the scene will remain a primitive oil in an
old man’s mind. I’ll pick it up and look at it again
and again as I have done so many times before,
and that’s OK. The joy of looking, whether you’re
seven or seventy, is a big part of living in this world.
A poem is a “made thing” was a Natasha Trethewey comment in a recent interview.