Taking Care of an Old City

Taking Care of an Old City


Men work in the streets

blocking off holes in the ground

with their big trucks

they hide the sewage systems

vertical shafts revealing

the underside of a city

networks of pipes

leaking buildings drip

the held-back river


They tell the city to notify the residents

a boil alert, don’t drink the water

from where the weld let loose

a steady stream out

something else may have tried to go in


Maybe that’s what they were thinking

the people with the old money

who hold onto buildings for good luck,

allowing them to decay, they are

the only thing left of them in Wheeling.

Eventually, it’s better off to tear them down

than let someone else in

to own the city.


Perhaps the old-money people still live here

in the bodies of the men

who work in the streets

blocking holes to the underbelly of this old music town

with their big trucks.

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