Sunday, January 27, 2013

Pittsburgh 6

At first the city was a picture postcard
and all I could see were the kindly
souls in the neighborhood park, feeding
ducks in the afternoon when I went for walks

Later I was asked to be careful
of the shadowy corners where
junkies went for their daily fix
and littered the ground with used needles

Friends warned  me about the crack houses
and random shootings; a young man
shared on a Friday how he was mugged
coming out of a bar near midnight

On East Ohio street and childhood memories
of a fourteen year old shot on the steps
of his forty year old house; it is a
very nice house he added with a smile

To take me back to the old family home
in Kerala, violent too, with uncles squabbling
before it was sold to strangers along with
the well that rippled with every pebble

my first poem and the night before sister’s
wedding when burglars came and an aunt
locked us in a room, to protect us children
she said afterwards, as we huddled on a single bed  

I know now that this city has a bruised soul
like other places I have known and 
despair lurks under the bridge at nights
but in the mornings it can be familiar like home.


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