Saturday Poem / The Return: Letter from Pittsburgh to Argentina

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Winter here isn’t as brutal as I remember,

still it’s stiff winds & all shadow,

the smell of wood smoke & a sharp cold.

I shove my hands deep in my coat pockets

& think of you when I say, the journey

was good. And long. Since I left

I’ve laughed & cried for no good reason,

but I will not speak of change

when I mean loss. I can’t stop thinking

of the old mills, the thick throated

smoke stacks standing out against the sky,

the titanic, tangled piping of the blast furnace,

the railyards & warehouses sprawling

along these dark rivers — imagine

a child amid all that machinery

spitting smoke & flame into the night sky

as if Christ & Father were still forging

the earth. Pittsburgh, my wildflower

longing for an everlasting spring. Pittsburgh,

my benchmark for magnitude, root

of my hunger — I haven’t told anyone

that last year I carried the brave color of these hills

in fall as the flag of my heart, that

while I watched a continent & countless hours

slide by, the only constant was my reflection

in a bus window. I haven’t told anyone

that on the day the landing gear tucked into the body

of the plane, desire was lunging & flaring in me

like a downed live wire, & in that instant

I knew I wouldn’t find what I was looking for.


Marty Saunders is a writer living in Fox Chapel whose work has appeared in Blue Earth Review, Bloodroot Literary Magazine and The Santa Clara Review.

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