If it’s sunny at dawn, gray glass office towers cast long shadows
but today cold fog blows in off the sea to this narrow strip
of park dense with tents, stage, tarps, food tables, banners
and posters. In November most of the roses in the park,
have faded though a few blossoms defy icy wind off Boston Harbor
where fog horns call to docking ships. They come from home,
they come homeless, they come unemployed, they come from work
and they come from war. At dawn dew drips from every tent.
Sparrows chirp in the roses. People sleep so close they hear
their neighbors breathing. Boston drivers rush by ten feet
from their tents. In the gutter a white pigeon with black
wings pecks for scraps while gulls call from the harbor.
They wake as fog drifts in, not far from Faneuil Hall,
and the wharves. Here revolutionaries once threw tea
into the sea and manned cannons they’d hauled from
Ticonderoga. Like George Washington’s rebels,
they wait out the cold and speak in assemblies—
When in the course of human events—call
from brick streets—We are the 99%—pass pamphlets—
A democratic government derives its just power from the people.
There are no Redcoats here, only police in blue
jackets and helmets, watching and waiting.
They occupy parks and plazas, sleep in prison cells,
awake in psych wards, work factory lines, clerk
discount stores, huddle in toilet stalls, sleep
on park benches, wait in unemployment lines,
queue at shelters—those who occupy
all the places where they’re unwanted.
Probably nobody will die here as
in the Revolution, at least not today;
it’s more a slow dying, like the drip
of dirty water from wharves to the sea.
Tonight it will rain cold; the pigeons
and sparrows will tuck their heads,
fluff their feathers and try
to stay warm until morning.