My grandfather built these tunnels
The Lincoln and the Brooklyn Battery
he from Donegal, she Roscommon
two daughters and a son in a two-bedroom
in The Bronx

to us there was nothing more exotic
the gritty shush of our feet on worn marble stairs
— the most New York sound there is –
inside, gold-rimmed plates she’d bought one per month
a shelf tight with history and poetry hardbacks
steam from the roast and the sound of car horns
hole-punching through the stories their children,
a teacher, a nurse, a physicist, were telling

we took the bridge home, me watching drowsily from the back-back
as bright cables swooped me safely across the black Hudson.

He dug them with a shovel
would show my father his dirty boots and say,
Do you see these? You’ll never wear these.


Jane Ward is a poet, healthcare communications professional, wife and mother living in Northwest New Jersey. Her work has won a University of Michigan Millions of Suns poetry prize and was shortlisted for a Prism International Pacific Spirit prize. Her poems have appeared in Beyond Words and Green Briar Review, among others.