A community project hosted at Northeastern University

Gathering in the Aftermath

Description

I'm a writer and a musician, and I've lived in Boston/Cambridge for twenty years. During April 2013, I participated in a poetry "marathon" called the 30/30 Project, which is a monthly fundraiser for Tupelo Press, a non-profit publisher based in western Massachusetts. For the project, I and the other volunteers each wrote a poem every day during April and posted our poems online. (http://tupelopress.wordpress.com/3030-project/3030-project-april-2013/)

I of course planned to write about people in my life, or daily events. But I never expected to end up writing about a bombing and a subsequent manhunt in my own neighborhood.

I wrote "Gathering in the Aftermath" five days after the marathon bombing happened. Friends of mine had made plans for a birthday celebration at a restaurant on Newbury Street. We felt uncertain about going there, but decided that following through with our plans would be better than staying away out of fear. In the Back Bay area there were many visible signs of the event's after-affects. But there was also a sense of community, which gave me hope for the city's recovery.

Writing about my own personal experience and sharing it with others has been helpful. I'm grateful for the opportunity to contribute my story, in the form of a poem, as part of the "Our Marathon" archive.

Date

Current Location

02139

Text

Gathering in the Aftermath
by Lisa DeSiro


I took the bus across the river
to meet my friends for dinner.
Chatted with a young singer
on her way to opera rehearsal.
Chatted with a young MIT student
on his way to Symphony Hall.

Newbury Street full of pedestrians,
like a typical evening in early spring.
I dodged my way through meanderers, noticing
but not stopping to look past yellow tape.

Warm hugs and greetings at the restaurant,
wine and cocktails, tapas. We shared
good news and bad news, advice, loud laughter,
our voices harmonizing and counterpointing
a chaotic and beautiful quintet
while salsa played in the background.
Plenteous smiles from our waitress.
Bountiful food brought to our table.

Outside, night grown chill, wind following us.
We couldn’t cross through to Boylston Street
for several blocks: Fairfield, Exeter, Dartmouth,
Clarendon, Berkeley, Arlington.
Posted at every corner: policemen,
watching people taking photos with their phones.

On the sidewalk, colored-chalk messages:
WE LOVE YOU. BOSTON STRONG.
On the barricades, bouquets of flowers
and hand-drawn posters. One said: Bach, not bombs.

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