Paulette Swartzfager
years of dust

paulette swartzfager

This work is dedicated to my family and friends
in the two cities I call home:
New Orleans and Rochester.

From the book:

Years of dust

My father knew dust--
concrete mixed with river sand
 years of grey
     on his face
     in his hair
     on the dashboard of his Ford
dust on plastic St. Christopher
     the silver glove box
     the radio that played only static
     the shift
     the seats
     the school books my brother and I held
          those silent trips each morning.
We rolled the windows down
     let humid winds in
     to paint us in his image.
My mother hated our dust
     dust that seeped into her days without her permission.

She fought it with bleach and spray wax
     watered the grit into St. Augustine lawn
          into roses and pink periwinkles
     covered furniture in plastic
          her hands in white cotton gloves
     zippered her blue taffeta dress in clear vinyl
          insulated from common khakis.
Each night she prayed for rains and strong scouring winds
     to wash it away.

Paulette Swartzfager is a poet, freelance journalist, essayist, and activist originally from New Orleans, who moved to Rochester NY after Katrina. She is currently a lecturer in the English Department of Rochester Institute of Technology.

years of dust
is a 40 page hand-stitched chapbook - $10.00

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