Listen:

I went to the doctor and found out
there is an empty city inside me.

The streets are broad and mostly clean.
Trees are few and far between.
No cars are parked on the boulevards.

Why has it been abandoned, this city?
Who used to live here, and why
did they rush off to the countryside?

I admit I was distressed by the news.
I had hoped for a mist-cloaked wilderness,
or at least a ragged branch of crows.

Instead I wander silent apartments.
The closets brim with winter clothes.

Now I lie awake and wonder what will they
do when the winds of November come
and bite through their thin summer dresses?

Detail from Charles Marville, Rue de la Ferronnerie (about 1865). The Cleveland Museum of Art, Leonard C. Hanna, Jr. Fund.

Michael Bazzett

Michael Bazzett is the author of three collections of poetry, including You Must Remember This (Milkweed Editions, 2014), winner of the Linquist & Vennum Prize, Our Lands Are Not So Different (Horsethief Books, 2017), and The Interrogation (Milkweed, 2017). His work has appeared in Tin House, The Sun, The American Poetry Review, Threepenny Review, and Ploughshares, and his verse translation of the Mayan creation epic, The Popol Vuh, (Milkweed, 2018) was longlisted for the National Translation Award and named “one of 2018’s ten best books of poetry” by The New York Times. He lives in Minneapolis.