To My Old City

By W. S. Di Piero b. 1945
You’re still there in the spectral impress,   
the plied afterimage grid of trucks

and buses, diesel fume and bloodspoor streaked   
on wet streets, and cars biting evening papers

from the black newsstand. Above, the trestle’s   
gravel bed hums expectantly, or with relief,

and the gritty pinpoints of snow, at rest   
on silver rails, flare into the coming dark,

while everywhere your hungry light still tries   
to reconstruct itself, charm the space

in and around the looseknit ironworks,   
winter’s checkered yellowings glaring past

the dark. From here, two years away, I see   
in your middle distance a trestle stretched

between two brownstones, the whole scene   
droning deep: the train tears through the gap,

ratcheting the space with green aquatic squares   
that flick past like old sluggish film,

each frame a piece of failing, played-back fact,   
and the unseen wheels click, mumble, click

in flukes of young clean snow fountaining up   
around those strangers abiding in the glass.

W. S. Di Piero, “To My Old City” from The Dog Star. Copyright © 1990 by W. S. Di Piero. Reprinted with the permission of The University of Massachusetts Press.

Source: The Dog Star (University of Massachusetts Press, 1990)

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Poet W. S. Di Piero b. 1945

POET’S REGION U.S., Mid-Atlantic

Subjects Cities & Urban Life

Poetic Terms Couplet

 W. S. Di Piero


W.S. Di Piero was born in 1945 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania and earned degrees from St. Joseph’s College and San Francisco State College. A poet, essayist, art critic, and translator, Di Piero has taught at institutions such as Northwestern University, Louisiana State University, and Stanford, where he is professor emeritus of English and on faculty in the prestigious Stegner Poetry Workshop. Elected to the American Academy of . . .

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Poem Categorization

SUBJECT Cities & Urban Life

POET’S REGION U.S., Mid-Atlantic

Poetic Terms Couplet

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Originally appeared in Poetry magazine.

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