(After “Oh My Lost City” by Pablo Naruda)
New York, the place of my birth,
Still hear Streisand’s words of glory—
the city that never sleeps,
even for me as a teen
who slept under stars
with sexy boyfriends and cars.
Each Sunday visited
where dad taught ice skating
they called him Mr. Mark—
unable to pronounce his long last name—
Marquise—invented after immigration
from some French ancestors
which is maybe why I love croissants, espresso,
chestnuts and steamy nuts from street vendors.
I left before I could drive,
but now want to revisit my roots, especially
with dad gone and the city changed faces
more times than I can count.
Queens was my place, Cunningham Park
where hippies puffed joints and concerts
permeated lively words with numbered streets
and houses in rows like soldiers, only colors
setting them apart, one hundred and seventy-third street—
oh the pink shingles dad pained when I was born
to match his pink impala—
the kid mother never wanted, but dad cherished.
She planted a cherry blossom tree
in keeping with theme,
her green thumb also holding the reins of her
favorite four-legged equine partner,
always more important than me.
She’s still there, waiting to die
but never dying to live
I only wish her well— planted
in the city I used to call my own.
Diana Raab, Ph.D., is an award-winning memoirist, poet, blogger, speaker, author of 10 books, and contributor to numerous journals and anthologies. Her two latest books are Writing for Bliss: A Seven-Step Plan for Telling Your Story and Transforming Your Life and Writing for Bliss: A Companion Journal. Her poetry chapbook, An Imaginary Affair, is forthcoming in July 2022 with Finishing Line Press. She blogs for Psychology Today, Thrive Global, Sixty and Me, Good Men Project, and The Wisdom Daily, and is a frequent guest blogger for various other sites.