SPOTLIGHT: Beyond the Spaghettiville Bridge by Matt Stefon

The Spaghettiville Bridge

The pasta factory, now
closed, is now a middle
school, now out. The crew
long ago left to go do

other things. Up the hill
are graveyards and the
undertaker—down the hill,
the city proper. Between

them, the railroad bridge
under which sufficient
snow and rain runoff
gather to cook sufficient
pasta to feed both sides
Bolognese for days.

Hit and run

I’d been told that
an oak tree leaf
caught mid-spin from
breaking earthward

from its oak tree
in fall brought the
one stopping to
catch it fortune.

Judging how on
that beater smacked
one Thursday, sent

it staggering
then sprawling, then
sped off, no one
told the driver. 

Literary pilgrimage
(with rite for visiting dead inspirations)

Once you’ve traversed the dimming cemetery streets,
dead, dry, expecting you to fill them like the fog
now rolling in with the evening (step softly) where
few care to walk (everyone here gets a headache,
anyway, when the few plodding pilgrims do come
treading here, maybe once a year, in October,
when the leaves all sink like expired notebook leaves),
lit with a half-pint of electric wine to light
your way through the dusk (oh, it has to be at dusk),

locate the headstone (you can’t miss it, lovingly
decorated with flasks, flowers, and ephemera
that will all be packed away when the twilight’s out)
and pay your respects. The other half the wine’s to
charge the ghost in the stone—stammer out a stanza,
quickly, of yours, then drink it down (they’ll also drink,
vicariously). And then, lit through the all but
faded light, remember they too, when they wrote too,
lit both sides of the gate of the city of graves. 

Merrimack ice floes forming

At night they shimmer
in the glow of the
moon and highway lights
like the cells of some
eldritch entity
thickening into
our reality. 

Porter Square

Like bird shit
lit for warmth
and failing
at it, the
parking lot
lamps glowing
in the cold
air light up
Porter Square.

Kick the shit
from the birds
from your shoes—
trick a spark
into the
briefest of
all the square

with bullshit,
birds shivering
for the bus,
about self-
care. Let you
your warmth (night
against light)
through the square—

through the shit
nuisance snow
like small bird-
the shopping
center air,
slick yet light,
in the square,

above shit-
talk among
evening bird-
squawk—bus to
Inman long
in their loops
in light of
Porter Square

Station (shit—)
still pouring
birds (they’re mad),
and a dense,
air so thick
light can’t crack
through the square—

it’s all shit
for the birds
you might say,
if you knew
Cambridge in
Winter and
the struggle
of light to
warm the square.


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