Let’s claim the abandoned factory, the one where gutted pigs
hung on hooks, cars emerged from metal casings or, yes, textiles
spun from clattering looms, 24 hours a day, filling the air with cotton.
Let’s put clear, clean glass into the windows boarded now,
let light cascade across the oil-stained floors. A carpet,
cashmere wool and beige, soft enough to sleep in (which
we will most afternoons because here: no shoes). In
memory of the 9-year-old girls who stretched calfskin
and dipped it in brine that turned their fingers green.
We’ll fix the broken skylights so more blue can enter. The faculty
will sit on sofas, hold their instruments, instruct the ring
of students seated on the carpet. A faculty made of homeless
men & women, bathed now, hair and beards trimmed. Let’s
string children’s art on lines throughout, paper cutouts and boxy
houses, daffodil-shaped trees, splashes of crimson-gold abstraction.
There’ll be a concert every afternoon performed for stray dogs.
Cats, too, lured by the sound. All the ragged people
will find their way to our Cathedral of light and color. At four o’clock
the Children’s Choir will perform. Dinner’s at six, served by waiters
bearing trays of squid and quail, persimmons and Vidalia onions,
tureens of borscht—hot and cold—and platters of sour cream.
After that, dancing. The College Orchestra will play waltz & mambo,
the Gay Men’s African Drumming Circle rounding out the day.
We’ll all go home in horse-drawn carts, the rebel faculty folding in.
Susana Roberts teaches at Boston College and her work has appeared most recently in The Brooklyn Quarterly, tinderbox, and Salamander. She rescues stray cats and has unsuccessfully managed a small plot at the Charles River Community Garden. She favors the wounded.