Going Going Gone

My poem was just published by Louisiana Literature. It’s one of my favorite poems.

Going, Going, Gone

Here’s a picture 
of the four of us
by the old synagogue 
on Bristol Street.
It’s February,
and our mothers
have us dressed 
for the Arctic.
Can you tell the coats are
hand-me-downs?

We are six or seven
and closer than brothers.
To hear us tell it now,
we were abandoned
and raised by feral beasts
on the savage streets
of Brooklyn—
but it wasn’t like that.
Sure, we were poor
but who wasn’t?

That was 1953.
We’ve seen
each other through
school and war,
marriage and divorce,
and the promise of infants
who grew and grew
only to scatter
like startled sparrows.

But that’s not what I want
to tell you.

Eddie died this year—
smoked for sixty years
and got hit by a car 
crossing Amboy Street.
In 1961, Eddie hit the longest home run ever
in a Police Athletic League game.
We shouted ourselves raw
as he loped around the bases
even though we lost that game 12 to 1
to a team that never had
to share gloves.

The three of us share old stories 
over dominoes 
and whiskey on a stoop
on Bristol Street.
The synagogue is long gone.
Soon the rich will take the neighborhood.
We will pass
and all those singular memories
will flash out
like an ancient TV tube dying—
like they never were.

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