Barely Otherwise

Evanston is a town that sits
on the left shoulder of Chicago, facing up
(right shoulder if you’re facing down).
It is protected by an asphalt moat patrolled
by civilian traffic, a vast cemetary where
fog twists around large monuments to people
barely otherwise remembered, and a train track
fatally electrified and lined by deciduous jungle.

Once the visitor passes the city’s defenses
he (or she if she’s a she) finds himself
in a pretty little city almost as pretty
but not as fragile as the words “pretty
little city,” complete with tall trees,
three-story buildings, squirrels, rabbits,
university professors and students, joggers,
dog-walkers, cyclists, all sweating, some
discussing topics of interest.  The cars are
all relatively new and not ostentatious,
though the same cannot be said
for the houses.  Construction is underway
in front of shops whose windows hold signs
reading, “We are still open.”  Sunday mornings
find the pretty little city very quiet.

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