Crane

C
Tonight I want to return to Elizabeth,
New Jersey, where Stephen Crane lies
under a stone, and my father,
after twenty years of skimping wages, finally
opened his own dry-goods store.
I worked there after school, on weekends,
but it didn't take a genius to see
from the sad look of the place—
dim light, threadbare "goods"—where it was headed.
In all the time I spent in that smog-sucking town
of wan bargain hunters and hangdog merchants,
I never knew of, let alone visited,
Crane's grave. Then, I was more enamored of
that other Crane, Hart (lovely name!),
whose grave is in the belly of the South Atlantic.
Besides, I couldn't imagine any reason why
anyone would want to stop off, never mind
die, in Elizabeth, New Jersey. It seemed
nobody there cared about, much less
knew, the color of the sky.
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