wilmington, delaware: a portrait

                                   during the first snow of winter

                                   february 2, 2019

by Lisa Krawczyk

 

1.

you forgot that snow

can enshroud a city. this city

with its one plow

salted the streets

and sidewalks white before

a flake had fell or a cloud formed—

the threat of snow daunting enough.

you’ve never been to a city

quite like this; the summers

blister saturated with damp

heat and the winter winds

bluster. the little in between

is brief and ill defined.

there is no snow.

2.

prototypical city features:

wilmington, de.

 

stretching toward new england

but never quite being able to reach

philadelphia or the northeastern

woods of vermont or connecticut or

midatlantic baltimore or historical d.c..

 

dela-where? is often heard from neighboring

states. delaware is a sliver to get caught

under your skin. Whose cities

are shadowed by the surrounding states

and could easily be swallowed

up by the atlantic.

wilmington: pumped and inflated

with out-of-state money.

out-of-state interest, out-of-state

corporations.

3.

rusted water tower, a centennial over

market street’s new restaurants

and white lights on the trees, new

apartments slapped together overnight

for the middle-class apparition.

downtown businessmen who came

in to work on nothing

but their own gain, building

half made skyscrapers

half promises half

the healthcare half

the rights guaranteed

by an amorphous entity

saturated in green paper.

the surrounding area ruthlessly

left with nothing except

young’s, the chinese bodega

and cracked, busted, collapsed

rowhouses—cuddled up,

heating each other—

a community seeped

in self-loathing and love.

stuck in a city constructed

to keep glued.

lost in the maze

with one narrow

exit

and few rewards

along the way

before realizing

this place

consumes those who stay.

Lisa Krawczyk is a current resident of Wilmington, Delaware, as an educator and service volunteer. She writes of environmental despair and the time we have left on earth. She has a forthcoming publication in Lullwater review, and her sestina "Urban Heat Island" can be found in Levitate.

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March 2019

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