Chicago by Janet McCann

now blurred the loop under the El
and the forbidden shoreline

meet you at the German restaurant
I loved in 1950, I will bring the soapstone carving
the Mafia gave me for blundering into their meeting
(school uniform blouse and skirt
eyes and mouth wide)

scary but not in the mood that day
to eat children. the gift, I old enough to feel something
but not to know

Chicago I can not forget
the my-age bully who roughed me up twice
he’s a used car dealer in Peoria Google says
I am sure he cheats people
laughs as they drive away in their tinny beaters

and all the cows in the shop windows, when I went back
maybe it was the year of the cow, even grown up
I did not understand
I do not understand

I understand neither your terror nor your beauty


Janet McCann‘s poetry has been published in Kansas QuarterlyParnassusNimrod, and several other publications.