Tuesday, June 22, 2010


For my grandfathers and all fathers. I love you!

Above the salt marshes
hinted among beech and pine
are geysers: springs of rocks
dig into the soil anywhere
and they pop up to greet you
like geologic gophers
some say the Romans
emerged from stones
and intuitively understood
the obstinance
that teaches patience to their host.

Men like my great-grandfather
Giorgio Calvi, a stonemason
who knew the value
of strength and beauty
a good foundation
metamorphic midwives
stretched short, hairy appendages
into the wombs of quarries
and earth
each newborn
proclaimed a chip off the old block
cradled by all the paisanos
that birthed and built a nation
the New York City subway
the Erie Canal
the Library of Congress
First National Bank, Las Vegas, NM.
the Fitchburg, KY. iron furnace
to supply the railroad
the Rockville railroad bridge, Marysville, PA.
and the railroad depot in Santa Rosa, CA
the Community Building in Douglass, KS.
the reservoir in Pelham, MA.
the Opera House in Cimarron, NM.
and cowboy cabins in Winnemucca, NV.
everything needed for a good life
stitched into Precambrian quilts
of coastal fog
lashed with sun's rays
and micaceous ripples
artfully layered and pressed
like a model's eyeshadow
each column and color
supporting the next
together they are powerful
foundations of our dreams
dreams that calloused and choked,
sometimes crushed
but always convinced.

I remember my grandfathers
and all immigrants
who want only the opportunity
to carve a new life
or to simply live
and accomplish this
by building the foundations
of ours.

Yasmeen Najmi

© 2010 Yasmeen Najmi

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