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Poem: Shelter In Place

A woman looks out a window at her home as police start to search an apartment building while looking for a suspect in the Boston Marathon bombings in Watertown, Mass., Friday, April 19, 2013. (Charles Krupa/AP)MoreCloseclosemore
A woman looks out a window at her home as police start to search an apartment building while looking for a suspect in the Boston Marathon bombings in Watertown, Mass., Friday, April 19, 2013. (Charles Krupa/AP)

A few days after Dzhokhar Tsarnaev was captured, poet Wendy Drexler walked the Watertown streets to look for the house with the boat where he’d been hiding.

SHELTER IN PLACE

And the city was a dark harbor,
hardened and congealed, the streets
furrowed with chase, with grief,
and turns — hairpin, wrong — and dead
ends, a desert of dead ends without
provision or cure, where tanks
and sirens stampeded that day
all day, all of us closed in at home
behind locked doors mining
the TV screen for every last look,
the price everyone would have
to pay, and we saw a man climb out
of a tarp-covered boat in a backyard,
the rifle’s red laser dot locked
on his head, a blood skew crazing
his face as he raised his bloody hand
and bloody shirt to show he was
unarmed, while just a few blocks
away from that very yard, a sign
taped to the gnarl and the knot
of two shelves nailed to a tree,
paperbacks on top, hardbacks below --
Take a Book, Leave a Book -- and as
the city raged that day, all day, that
little free library stayed open.


The Little Free Library, at the corner of Phillips and Garnet Streets in Watertown, offers not only snug rows of books, but a small hole in the center of the peaked roof to welcome birds. A blue-striped umbrella, bent and tied with cord to the tree, shelters the books in bad weather.

(Courtesy)
(Courtesy)

Wendy Drexler Cognoscenti contributor
Wendy Drexler is a poet based in Belmont.

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