Driving through Queens

by Richard Fein

I must motor through its gauntlet of  streets
and navigate a labyrinth of confusion.
Here an avenue, a street, a puny road
all might have the same number.
Here a parkway is severed,
then grafted back a few blocks later
as if sutured by a drunken surgeon.
In Queens all roads lead to roaming
through world civilizations corralled on this glacial outwash.
Hindu, Moslem, Baha’i, Catholic, Jew, Sikh,
and even the all-American Protestant neighborhoods
greet my windshield then take their leave──
a patchwork of the planet settled on a helter-skelter grid.
To find Manhattan is easy, for above the rooftops
the Freedom Tower is now visible.
Queens like Manhattan, like America, will always rise above misfortune.
Nevertheless I must negotiate the street plans
of dozens of long ago villages that all vanished into Queens.
Ah, but in the middle of the borough there is a hill,
and on it one can see the morning sun reflected
off a hundred high-rise windows.
And there my engine will idle. My rest stop so to speak.
But exactly where I won’t tell.
One hint, you don’t need a cartography
for one can get lost just as easily without a map.
No, get yourself discombobulated then find your own way.
Each must discover his own heartland in Queens.

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