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What Was Here Before
What of the false history, the mucky-shack torn
Away for the crimped sheetrock, uptown fountain?
I know better than to mourn the gone-by and instead
To find love in the layers of build-over. How I love
The way the trees grew into the hill, how the elm
Rotted and became the peat for saplings.
Gated communities, slapped up, flim-flam mansions,
pushed upon communities where the potlatch
once simmered—cheapened now with
real estate deals, names of the wrong things—
Manor Estates and Squaw Ridge: I despise you.
When I was nineteen, that summer,
I drove a little Honda through a tunnel
Into downtown Chicago. Onto the roof,
I’d strapped my grandmother’s old recliner chair:
Olive green, metal poking through the footrest.
I suppose nothing came from the trouble.
There were a lot of things I carried then.
I carried all of them, for everyone.
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