When I got to college last September, the very first week, I wrote a poem for Boston.
I do not own you
Not in the way that I am used to owning
The air in my lungs
We are still hesitant and do not know
If a kiss on the cheek is too personal
Or should we shake hands?
We are acquaintances
And forgive me
But I don’t yet know how you take your coffee
Or if you’ll ever feel like home
This is not a poem I ever meant to share with anyone because I never found it particularly special. I was never overwhelmingly pleased with the imagery. I thought the word choice was just okay. It was only the nervous anxiety of freshman forlorn, an urge that I needed to jot down.
I am sharing it now because I finally, definitely, calamitously have an answer for myself.
This is the second poem I wrote for Boston, written April 17.
I saw you in a tank top
I saw you in racer shorts
I saw you down a beer at 10:45 on a Monday morning
I saw you climb a tree in a crowded intersection too drunk to care that the cops were calling you
I saw you smiling Citgo shine
And then I saw the insides of your arteries.
I saw the marrow in your bone
And it was full of spongy hands holding hands holding eyebrow creases
It was full of children holding women holding men shaking bad
It was full of metallic police stars officer officer OFFICER PLEASE
and then, Yes.
Then smears less like war paint and more like pen ink
Do Not Be Afraid, For The Wicked Are Not Wicked Here
We are loud but we can be so soft—We are only calloused baby skin
and You can sleep here tonight
A city quick to sleep, quick to drink, quick to stand, but quickest to love so hard it aches my fingers to watch
The marrow that I saw in your bones had rolled up letters inside
Firm and wet smudged and in my handwriting
God, see this place
Recover it soundly
And most especially rename it My Home
Boston is recovering. Copley opened for the first time again this weekend. In a way things are settling back to a sense of normal. But for me, things will never be the same. Because for me I discovered a new place in me that was born in and will always be from Boston.