Grace Paley


Walking along a street in a neighborhood
where the black trashbags are stacked as neat
as a woodpile in Vermont     my lover said to me
oh will we ever live in a district like this
where the artists are growing old in brownstones
and their grandchildren visit them with watercolors
and pastels      if we could only find a
condominium or a coop like the one
on ninth street   where the tenants themselves
have lovingly laid a mulch of pine branches
among the roses

                             then I answered my lover
It is probably too late for sentiment
of that kind    we are fated to create
our own community in the borough of
             Brooklyn  or Staten Island    though there are
many who are happy in the little cities
across the river in another state
where we might well establish patterns of
comfort and gently rising affluence
all of which requires of course that the earth
be not blown up or irremediably
poisoned and that you and I remain if not
lovers at least cordial creators of 
family and continuity