Philadelphia in October

For the first time ever,
I see something beautiful glistening in your eyes.

Lighted skyscrapers mirror the sky's brilliance,
subtly announcing your identity.
Colors I'm unaccustomed to have started to spread
like a wondrous disease that only afflicts trees.
I even smell a distant fireplace
yawning from summer hibernation.
Fall has come.
And in a strange way, I am calm.
You seem less threatening now.
Almost palatable.

People here are so tough.
They act so young, but
when I approach them and pass by,
I see wrinkles and well-worn masks over their eyes--
structured to be collected
so no one senses the panic prickling the skin.
The porcupine pricklies raise the button-down shirt in the back,
as a warning (and it looks like the wind just blew).

What would you say if I held every person inside of you
until they felt an ounce of healing,
a pint of better,
a pound lifted off their weighted shoulders
in the absence of a grain of salt?
Would you laugh?
That's the preferred response,
when I don't know what to do,
but you, on the other hand,
might turn a gruff shoulder in ignorance
while the person I'm holding shudders in uncertainty
the way I do when I am uncertain but when I know something is good,
though incredibly foreign,
and if my arms were long enough,
I would hold all of you for an eternity
if it would mean you became softer,
and perhaps more willing to smile.


1998-2000 linda lee tritton

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