After d.a. levy's "Suburban Monastery Death Poem"
Levy said Cleveland is outside history--
the Cleveland Underground
growing – growing ever-patiently;
Not long ago, the sun would break through
the mulberry leaves on Wymore Ave.,
but in between then and now, something changed:
In between the mansion on the corner
had a lion chained to a tree in the yard
[what, I wonder now, did they feed it?]
We only ever drove past, aching for a glimpse,
the fenced-in yard measuring its own block,
the curtains on the house always shut.
[and why now, when it’s not even raining, am I aching?]
What was sought in the glare of the lion’s white teeth?
Nothing, I’m reminded by the weeds in the yard...
The steel mills hang in the air, limp and lifeless.
We drive along and I’m told to stop asking questions.
The lion is gone, you wouldn’t want to walk around there now.
[would it be more difficult to shoot something
through a chain-link fence?]
Cleveland’s history is now,
suspended in some other dimension of a city defunct,
a game we pretend, in faith, is living.
Kelly Konya was born in Cleveland, Ohio and holds an MPhil in Irish Writing from Trinity College Dublin. Her journalism and poetry have been featured in publications such as Icarus, Banshee, the Irish Times, and Chimes. She says this poem was inspired by a childhood memory of a house in the Buckeye neighborhood and hopes it “touches on the way memory shifts as location shifts, and the way Cleveland’s history is continually rewriting itself.”
Visit Literary Cleveland's Who We Are, Where We Live online anthology for more from the Buckeye/Shaker community.
Community Anthology Table of Contents
About the program
Who We Are, Where We Live is a free community writing program giving voice to people who live and work in the Buckeye/Shaker community. Participants write stories, learn about their neighborhood, and share with their neighbors. Annually, selected writings are published here in an online anthology and presented at a final reading and celebration.