Across from the Senior Village

by Dianne M. Buxton

Leaves skitter over the field then scratch across the empty lot
A lot newly paved, unmarred by the prankish sneaker prints, handprints
Or other marks school kids use to immortalize their years here
The empty court is void of the sprints, spins and slam dunks.

It has been since spring, through summer school, fall, and now
Silent holidays, no closing game, no cheers, no heroes
That the doors were closed and locked. The magpies perch
Along the block where they once dived for the burger or

Sandwich tossed away. Someone at the end of the street
Has thrown out bird seed. Hundreds of the huge black birds
And pigeons compete for the pickings. What I don’t see,
What I never see, is a single senior from the housing village.

Are they afraid? They have a lawn, gardens, and small patios
And government subsidies for their rent. But where are they?
Their show has gone. The lights, smell of popcorn and hot chocolate
And the screams of the fans. Their connection to youth, memories, energy.

They had a front row view, across the street. Where I walk.
I walk because I must. I’m old too, but there’s no rest, no subsidy coming.
Water in one hand, mask in the other, I log my footsteps. I wonder
Do they peek out and see me and think I’m a ghost?

Dianne M. Buxton’s work can be seen in Caveat Lector, The Griffin, Sanskrit, the Writers Of Kern blog and will appear in the Writers of Kern Anthology 2021. She was a recipient of the Canada Council Grant at the Martha Graham School of Contemporary Dance in NYC and is a graduate of the National Ballet School in Toronto. Sabiyha Prince is an anthropologist, artist, and author based in Washington, DC.  Her books and essays explore urban change and African American culture, and her paintings and photo collages grapple with memory, identity, kinship and inequality.

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