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Ghosts

How often we navigate by what is no
longer there. Turn right where the post
office used to be. She lives in a condo
above where the bakery blew sweet
yeasty smells into the street. A nail
salon now.

Kelsey Hayes had a factory there
on Livernois where our neighbors
worked. A foundry spat out metal
where the strip club spits neon
now and loud skanky music
into the night.

Rows of little cheap houses replaced
by a few McMansions. Where did
all those people go? The workers
in factories, in tool and dye shops,
the shoemakers and tailors, mom
and pop eateries?

You can be plunked down in Anywhere
U.S.A. and see the same row of stores
Target, Walmart, Gap, Toys-R-Us.
Exit the superhighway: McDonalds,

Taco Bell, Burger King, Hardees,
you haven’t moved.

That’s where the school was: see,
it’s condos now. That’s the church
the parish closed to pay for priests’
sex. China got the shoe factory.
Urban renewal turned the old neighbor-
hood to dust.

Some things we make better and some
are destroyed by greed and bad
politics. We live in the wake
of decisions we didn’t share in,
survivors of a vast lethal typhoon
of power.

Marge Piercy is the author of eighteen poetry books, most recently The Hunger Moon: New & Selected Poems, 1980–2010 from Knopf. Her most recent novel is Sex Wars (Harper Perennial) and PM Press has republished Vida and Dance the Eagle to Sleep with new introductions.

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