Concrete and Glass

apartment

An apartment building
Of concrete and glass
With elevators that went up 18 floors
They would fool us
By stopping mid-floor
In the basement
Rows of steel cages
With yellowed bulbs
Stored everything that couldn’t fit
In tiny apartments

The cantankerous gentleman
With sullen eyes and a thick mustache
Was in charge of the concrete and glass
That towered above
He shouted sharp accented sentences
In deep guttural growls
That smelled like rotten apples
At the children
Who rode down the ramps
From the second floor
Of the parking garage

Surrounding the concrete and glass
Farm land with a patchwork of colors
Where chickens and produce
Were raised together
A little creek cut around from the back
Then ran down the street
Was lined with midsize trees
It tempted little children
To jump it’s banks
But often it opened wide
Sending them waist deep
Into its depths

In front stood a crab apple tree
Which provided small green sour apples
That puckered lips
As teeth sliced through their flesh
From the tops of its branches
You could see the playground
With its towering wooden fort
And sandboxes
Tiny red pin head sized bugs
Made long journeys
Across the gritty territory

During the winter
We biked down the streets
Hugging the snow banks
Following narrow lanes
Created by passing cars
And in the summer
Climbing in the skeletal bodies
Of unfinished homes
Or laying on the ground
Staring up it the tops of the trees
Against the backdrop of blue skies

Not far away
Was the cobble stone streets
That ran through the town
Where butcher shops
Offered us thick portions of bologna
And the bakeries
Cut steaming slices
With dark brown breads
That were warm and aromatic

At the little school
Chalkboards contained beautiful cursive writing
And big windows
That went from the floor to the ceiling
Looked out on a wooded
Playland with birds and squirrels
Teachers and children alike
Delightfully conversed in strange dialects
That didn’t alienate

Then bells would ring
Somewhere
Echoing gently
And we would make are way
Back to the concrete and glass
Settling into bed
As the metal radiators popped
And warmed our rooms

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