Blake Street Meets 33rd

Gary Binowski and Vivian Barrett live 35 years beyond my sight,
past hope of recovery, the boy bouncing heel-to-toe to school
down Blake Street, the other sulkily switching her broom
of waist-length auburn hair, explaining yet again why she’s late.

And yet I revisit fifth grade, the class of Evelyn Maze,
who gave conviction — with pen — asked me to weave a tale
around the Frans Hals woman seated beside an apple barrel,
removed from the last century by canvas and still young before

our eyes. An oil becomes itself most when layers of paint still
bloom with original color. Teachers bind life to canvas of different
sort, air that’s backdrop for thought, that shimmers until sparks
ignite and cling to minds like lint to wool and seas to sand.

I see Evelyn still in the oddly similar short and steely form
of Carmen Santiago, my son’s middle-aged sprite, who mines
some special province for fairy dust, lifts kids to her height.
They think more of themselves because she said they could.

This poem first appeared in in 2001.

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Alyssa A. Lappen is a U.S.-based investigative journalist. She is the former Managing Editor at the Leeb Group (2012-2017); a former Senior Fellow of the American Center for Democracy (2005-2008); and a former Senior Editor of Institutional Investor (1993-1999), Working Woman (1991-1993) and Corporate Finance (1991). She served six of her 12 years at Forbes (1978-1990) as an Associate Editor. Ms. Lappen was also a staff reporter at The New Haven Register (1975-1977). During a decade as a freelance, her work appeared in Big Peace, Pajamas Media, Front Page Magazine, American Thinker, Right Side News, Family Security Matters, the Washington Times and many other Internet and print journals. Ms. Lappen also contributed to the Terror Finance Blog, among others. She supports the right of journalists worldwide to write without fear or restriction on politics, governments, international affairs, terrorism, terror financing and religious support for terrorism, among other subjects. Ms. Lappen is also an accomplished poet. Her first full-length collection, The Minstrel's Song, was published by Cross-Cultural Communications in April 2015. Her poems have been published in the 2nd 2007 edition of Blood to Remember: American Poets on the Holocaust and both 2007 issues of Wales' award-winning Seventh Quarry: Swansea Poetry Magazine. Dozens of her poems have appeared in print and online literary journals and books. She won the 2000 annual Ruah: A Journal of Spiritual Poetry chapbook award and has received a Harvard Summer Poetry Prize and several honorable mentions.

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