On the Ghost of a Boy Returning to Newark
(For children of mixed backgrounds everywhere.)

When you are dead
sometimes an airplane,
like the land,
will fly across those sleeping spaces
beating many bicycles along the way.
Gold.
Your father once said of bicycles
light is the fastest one.
Is there any bicycle faster than an airplane?
Is there any bicycle faster than the land?

And…

You recall your grandmother
never liking chicken soup.
She still doesn’t.
There are more words in the dictionary
and children have learned them all:
suffering, identity,
bells at the end of every class,
a grandmother still,
gumming dinner to the radio.
Porcelain.

When you are dead,
time moves almost “as if”
through the boards of an electric piano.
There’s a Baptist woman still in the shul
wearing a white dress.
And,
outside men sell newspapers because
something happened today.

Airplanes Fly Through Houses
and
The Sky Has Color.

A picture of your mother pointing up to a green dome.

Reminding you,
“Child, not in treetops
child.”
But, by then you’d already reached over Lincoln Park
and
could see everything.
Indeed, racers were leaving on buses filled with bicycles
leading you to decide—
“a race is over.”

Slower now.
You fell.
And noticing the streetlights,
you thought of your father—
while land rose up to meet you.

In that moment you almost understood it:

what was going on.
All races sometimes end.
But, still spinning you grinned
seeing with the park
that sees with the world:

Newark is the fastest machine.

Contributor

Alex Duensing

ALEX DUENSING has an M.F.A. from Columbia, currently resides in St. Petersburg Florida, is madly in love with his wife, and is working to promote world peace.

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