Chicago I

Fishing on Navy Pier.jpgBig shoulders,
hunched over fishing poles,
sweaters and coats, layer upon layer,
warding off March morning chill,
hoping for a bite off Navy Pier.

Big shoulders
huddled in a worn-out coat,
outside the chrome-and-glass
Walgreen’s at the corner of Chicago and Michigan,
flying a “homeless veteran” cardboard.

Big shoulders,
reaching over a hot grill,
eggs, bacon, burgers, fries,
short orders, long days and
home to
feed kids,
clean house,
check homework,
carrying responsibilities without end.


[Author’s note: I fell in love with Chicago when I first rode through it on a train, the words of Carl Sandburg’s poem thrumming in my head:   

Player with Railroads and the Nation’s Freight Handler,
Stormy, husky, brawling,
City of the Big Shoulders

All the years I lived in Chicago, I loved the city, and I love it still. This poem comes from a recent visit.]


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