For my grandfather, Max Schechter,
     on the day of his Yarzheit.

I too am bound away, though no broad Missouri
runs through my borough, so maybe I am just
bound away across the Bronx River to see my
Shenandoah, or just running for my life across
the Grand Concourse, with its timed traffic lights,
or better yet across our Lordly Hudson, and
perhaps I can even make it across Spuyten Duyvil
with its treacherous currents, maybe I can flee
this Bronx, this Bronx with its zoo, with its
million delis, its hundred million candy stores,
maybe I can finally leave the Bronx deep within
me, in my brain, in my voice, the playgrounds of
my youth, the incessant stickball, the hoops, the
fears, the getting too close to the edge of the subway,
the running at night through Van Cortlandt Park,
the sledding through my tunnel of fear on its slopes,
yes, I am bound away, but if I keep going won't I
eventually return, back to the Paradise, back to
DeWitt Clinton H.S, to the Amalgamated with its
tattered garment workers, to EM's Luncheonette, back
across the street, up into the elevator to 6D, to my
grandparents, with the bowl of hard candies you could
count on, to the seder table of my youth, to my secret
place beneath that table, to the place I came from, the
one place I had to flee, the one place I belonged.

March 30, 2007

All written material © Bill Schechter, 2016
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