They’ve all returned home from forced exile
some from New Jersey, Far Rockaway, Long Island;
others cross the street from the nearby Projects.
Congregate under the arch of the Crossbronx Expressway,
the dragon who—with asphalt scales, concrete wings,
shatter proof glass eyes, and burnt tar smoldering
from its manhole nostrils—slithered from the cave
of the George Washington Bridge, and then coiled
and stretched its six-lane body over the garden
boxes, back yard swings, and open porches
of the Bronx to suffocate the moss woods,
grass fields and sand lots beneath.
But, today, the Neighborhood and Tenant Association
gather not to remember the beast but its master—
The night before, in the shadows they’ve grown
to know so well, they dug up the bones of Robert Moses
to return him to the site of his proudest moment.
The bones placed in a discarded milk crate,
the crate pedestaled on a forgotten tire,
the tire adorned with a lost license plate,
the back of the plate etched with bottle shards,
the monument dedicated for all to see—
Erected for Robert Moses:
Usurper of Farm Lands
Desecrator of Rivers
Enemy of Clean Air
May he finally serve
the people of the Bronx,
as a bucket for bird
oil and cigarette butts.
In this service, may
the willows of Williamsbridge,
the Oaks of Olinville,
and the anonymous
of Anywhere Avenue
know Moses’ penance
will last as long
as his highway.
Oscar Bermeo…was born in Ecuador and raised in the Bronx. He is the author of four poetry chapbooks, most recently To the Break of Dawn. He now makes his home in Oakland, with his wife, poeta Barbara Jane Reyes, where they co-edit Doveglion Press. For more information, please visit www.oscarbermeo.com.