Poetry / September 2010 (Issue 12)

You Can Smell Roads

by Steven Schroeder

Walls flow like rivers here
slow to sea that backs away
from a city growing
unfamiliar fast,

waves of them marked
by towers that have less
to guard than when they
saw that nobody crossed

nothing on the city's edge, lost
in landfill and bridges. In the gardens
of the rich you can smell roads
where rivers ran. Now

oyster fishermen's huts have given way
to tents, and you know they will not be here long.

The ocean would not know the place
if it swept past walls to where it was
before. Rich people haunt the sea. A wall
rises with their dwelling on each new
coast, leaves traces of what was out of place
lost under layers of a young city growing old.

-from a dim sum of the day before, reviewed in this issue of Cha

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