From the Pacific Rim and the richardhowe.com western desk comes a new poem by Tom Sexton, occupier of poetry precincts on both coasts of America and distinguished alumnus of Lowell High School. — PM
Leaving Lowell, Mass. for San Francisco, 1915, a Postcard
Standing beside Mayor Murphy on the steps
of City Hall, they seem too young to shave:
the Cohens, Ellie and Max, and their friend
Max Greenberg. They will soon leave Lowell’s
towering smokestacks behind to begin
their long trek west to San Francisco.
Did they sleep beside the peddler’s cart
that holds the postcards they hoped to sell
to finance their dream of owning a store?
This postcard is all that is left of their quest.
Did a snowstorm trap them in the Rockies?
Did they break bread with the wrong people
or fall out and never speak to each other again?
Perhaps a snake wrapped itself around an axle.
Let us hope they reached the top of Nob Hill at dawn
with the sun touching their shoulders like a shawl.
—Tom Sexton (c) 2014