In Pittsburgh, I walk under a canopy

I once jogged with dogs. Now, Shady Avenue oaks

weep on this sidewalk. White nationalist violence

is fueled by a white supremacist. I return to a town


where I once ran book club for teachers:

I Never Saw Another Butterfly. Number the Stars,

my saying: “So this will never happen again.” Now

squirrels in Squirrel Hill do their stop-start-stop. I used to


buy bread at Five Points Bakery a block down, now

plastic-wrapped bouquets fan into a mountain. Students

I once read poetry to at John Minadeo School sang

at this congregation. Now children lay down their paper


doves. I pass names of eleven souls: Richard, Rose,

brothers Cecil & David, Joyce, Jerry— customer at

my brother’s store, couple Bernice & Sylvan, Daniel,

Irving, Melvin. Breath falls, petals of flowers.


I used to plan lessons with teachers

at Smallman Street Deli. Two weeks ago on Facebook,

I saw one of those teachers standing on that street,

protesting he who would not denounce hate. I walk back


to my car avoiding a leaf blower. Someone

asks me for directions. I do not know. I walk behind

my old neighbors. I think of gun laws, teaching,

November, hope.