On Merrimack Street,
In Lowell, there's a signpost
That says: Detour.
Maybe he never should have
Taken the other road,
Maybe he should have gone
Back, gone the other way
And stayed on these roads.
The air at the end of these
Roads becomes thick and
Dense and there is fog.
Here, on lonely low bleak cloudy days
There are quiet somber and grey
Places: big old several storied houses
With many front steps and slanted roofs
And lots of windows for eye prints.
The houses on University Avenue
From long ago are comforting with
Stubborn intoxicating attics whispering
Secrets obsessed with what
Was, so returning to this street
Reveals air like a strange pentimento.
Old stores with faded signs, corner
Places that never ever yielded or
Changed and they don't bend, they
Remain strong, proud, and solid.
If he stayed for more than a short
Time he always heard the swing
Music; drizzling so he could remember.
At night, in dreams, when
The way became lost, he
Soon realized he never left.
All that time, all those years
His eyes were just closed.
The boarded up windows gave
Him reasons to cry.
Now, this is the end of the seductive
Road, his forever destination:
A place that always surfaced
When sad dreams and deep
Longing finally fell away...
And he had to return to this place
Like a traveler who finally uses his
Return trip ticket.
© 2010 Marjorie Levine