I, now on the bridge, with no camouflage of speech, a body

Soldiers Aim at Us

  They fire

  as the crowd of women flees inside the nostrils of searchlights

  —may God have a photograph of this—

  in the piazza’s bright air, soldiers drag Petya’s body and his head

  bangs the stairs. I

  feel through my wife’s shirt the shape

  of our child.

  Soldiers drag Petya up the stairs and homeless dogs, thin as philosophers,

  understand everything and bark and bark.


And chance which has spared us.

What generations could have dreamed
This grandchild of the shopping streets, her eyes

In the buyer’s light, the store lights
Brighter than the lighthouses, brighter than moonrise

From the salt harbor so rich
So bright her city

In a soil of pavements, a mesh of wires where she walks
In the new winter among enormous buildings.

oppen’s pedestrian

Harlem Riot ’43 by Pauli Murray

Not by hammering the furious word,
Nor bread stamped in the streets,
Nor milk emptied in gutter,
Shall we gain the gates of the city.

But I am a prophet without eyes to see;
I do not know how we shall gain the gates
                  of the city.