Poems Left in Airports #5

We have arrived at Baltimore-Washington International Airport. Two poems remained for deposit, both pertaining in some way to region served by the airport. The fifth poem left is set in Washington and is the poem I wrote as an example for my population geography students for their creative population geography exercise.


All DC circles and flows
around this point,
this center of population,
calculated as if all were equal,
balanced on a flattened plane of the city,
where topography has no place,
hills do not define,
rivers and creeks do not divide.

When Ellington walked these streets
(before he was Duke);
when Dunbar opened its doors,
this neighborhood was Truxton Circle.
East Shaw, Florida Park,
Bates Area Civic Association—
any of these names now,
or none, depending on who you ask.

This neighborhood looks nothing
like it did last time anyone counted.
Curbside dumpsters tell the story,
tallied in the detritus of renovation
of rowhomes bought by professionals
flowing back into the city.
Median income has nearly doubled
in ten years, the steady march of gentrifiers
east toward DC’s other river,
pushing numbers up,
only a matter of time
till they wash up against,
then climb Anacostia’s heights.

Demography is destiny.
And loss.


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