Naton Leslie

And Bring Your Lover

You can feel the magic of bright nights...
all year long—
Forest Park brochure

Forest Park is magical to the tune
of half a million bulbs fired up
for the holiday about winter birth,
but I am drafted into creating

a festival for spring death, Mardi Gras.
I'm assigned to hanging airy plastic
chains of thespian masks, or balloons cheeked
at the brass tip of a tank I truck there.

Memories are ready to be made. But
sham finery undermines all my will,
my cotton good humor crushed in the night.
I decide to not attend, to ignore

the delights turned on, off in my body
for the ever-pending demise of God.

Emlenton Outfitters

Overnight Trips for Hunting and Fishing—brochure

My family took the old two-lane
from Ohio past Emlenton, Pennsylvania,
headlong down to the river, a hill
as steep as a string of dropped promises,
the longest enroute to my father's home,
the passage over the river a great
remembering instead. I loved

the heart-rushing plunge, neck-craning
hairpins. Traveled for two centuries,
the road was graveled with heroics,
and the iron bridge at bottom
was the reward, the Allegheny slipping
under like the broad bands of time,
the mental schematic I carried
of the decades, width linked
to what I knew had happened then,
the 1860s fat with civil war,
and the 1930s with railyards,
long lines and my father's memories.

But the interstate tamed the route
back to his storied hills. A concrete
span portaged us across mountain tops,
airborne, the overlooked Emlenton
now off-route, a moment of clearing
around the now thin, thin river.