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What Survives Lowell

Photo by Marcela AgŁero

What survives in Lowell's cold winter lives
only within the turnings of the smallest sounds:
old bells at noon;
dry licks of salty teeth
or the blind motion of smoke, around the always
same set of eyes

And me,
marrying mouths on Middle Street
or sitting somewhere downtown where
I know, perhaps, someone will come --

The other day
while undressing onions in my kitchen
I caught on fire
And like the walls of my neighbor's house last winter
the years came down all around me

Now I have nothing but the
Thrusting coals between my feet
And I would break
my lips on the slouch of aging wood
for a pulse among dead hands.

What survives Lowell
is something that melts and
then blossoms around tired bones and steel pipes
it is a breath that manages a warm escape
from a train interminably still.