Poem: My Neighborhood

Aug 24, 2018

Bay View was one of the first places we visited for a Lake Effect On-Site.  It’s home to poet and contributor Jenny Benjamin, who wrote a poem in honor of the show and the place she calls home.  Here she is, from that broadcast, reading “My Neighborhood”:

What borders are here, around this house?
Fernwood School fences
A canopy of ash trees in the rain
Lakeside sunrise, salt mountains, windmill,
Coffee houses, hat shop, soap shop, pet care,
And bars, lots of bars, for sugar maple-ing the night away.

My house in this neighborhood was repainted
Gauzy white, so in certain dusky light I see its name:
Watery pink like blood soaking through bandaged bundles.
The trim, sea foam green.

Inside, my daughters’ motions and emotions lap at me
Like waves from rival shores and I wonder:

Where exactly is the summer lakeside shore?

With pick-up barbeques and fireworks, the cascade
Of music sounding from block parties,
Instant fire pits smoking and sending embers to my door.

To the shore with garlic mustard overgrowth and groups
Of hunched figures plucking the weeds at the source,
Seminary woods with lush green leaves, dogs frolicking
And sniffing the layers of seasons falling on the paths,
From green leaf to orange leaf to fallen brittle breaks to ashen
Bottom to snowfall, to—

Here I am again in my neighborhood,
Thinking what keeps us in and around each other,
These markers of our days,
These places, people, faces, family,
These neighbors,
Let them in.

Contributor Jenny Benjamin is a poet and writer who lives in Bay View.