All afternoon I watch six young men
with spades and shovels, with whisk brooms
and brushes and the palms and fingers of their hands,
unearth and restore thirty feet of railroad track, shoveling
gravel between the wooden crossties, driving long thick
spikes through empty bolt holes, polishing the rails.
And then, suddenly, behind them, in the blazing
summer sunlight, the Stop and Shop parking lot begins
to buckle; through the white-lined rubble the old Sears
and Roebuck rises; behind it orchards, garden centers;
until, finally, the high school’s cupola reappears.
Below its weather vane, its golden dome,
their hands as yet untarnished and unbroken,
each clock face holds the hour. Beneath the Connolly
Parkway railroad trestle, a half a mile away, hunters’
and farmers’ sons, their rifles encased and shouldered,
walk their guns to school today.
From high school rifle range to golden dome
to railroad trestle, on this afternoon of resurrection
and repair, again I hear their gunshots echo.
Each gun fires only one shot at a time.