Eleanor, Wingohocking, Luray and Sheldon.
Rosehill, Albanus and Rubicon.
These last two were formidable–
Albanus, namesake of the glacier
in Antarctica- remote and cold,
impossible to cross, and Rubicon,
the river only Caesar dared traverse,
declaring war on Gaul.
I knew nothing of the southern ice or
ancient Rome. I was a skinny girl
whose schoolbag knocked against her legs
walking to school in morning fog, or later
counting footsteps from one curb
to another, safe until I stepped off
into unknown ridges, asphalt cracks
made by cold and heat.
I conquered small armies of fear
Traveling by subway, bus
to newer realms, I discovered
Wingohocking, a name that sounds
like bullets flying between gangs–
Wingo vs. Hocking.
Who would win the war?
All these streets
a bloody field for crossing,
where staying put could mean regret
or resignation, the narrow concrete island
a stopping place for those like me
who are faint of heart but ready
to reach the other side.