The Death of East Liberty
Joseph Bathanti

The Catholic had been assassinated,
his Frontier swept away by glass and brick dust.

The wrecking ball emptied the sky
like an atom bomb.

Half the voters could not speak English
to save their homes.

They spit on the sidewalk
and cursed the tinhorn politicos

they’d stood at the polls for
to keep their kids working.

Women lit candles
and went to pieces with their hands.

The men sat in the rubble and wept
with the jackhammers.

Trees were plucked,
houses thrown over like fleeced drunks.

In the end they moved,
took the five grand their lives’d been bountied for

and a made a face of beginning.
But demolition had crept into the bloodline,

a love of rending and silence to chastise love.
Memory became the abstraction of vendetta.

People went to their graves without speaking,
wholly terrified of America.

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