Lake Street

Lake Street

Lake Street

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A weekly poem, read by the author.
March 22 2000 3:00 AM

Lake Street

Sheathed between steak houses
***in his shop under the Green Line,
the sharpener's knife gave off sparks.

***His grindstone spun all day,
large as a roundtable, honing
***ham slicers, meat cleavers.

If it was powered by what made the trains
***screech overhead, their whistles
simulating a scalpel's edge,

***it also seemed to spin because of forces
he knew how to fuse by himself; his fingers'
***grip on steel had just the right pressure.

He was no musician, but every blade
***whetted on his wheel
sounded like more than metal.

***It sounded like something forged
out of tuning forks & good fortune.
***While his knives sparkled,

the sharpener gave in to a dream
***of butcher blocks in chophouses
knocking out the serrated lines

***of an anthem called "Lake Street"
steeped in the water-sweet feel of long green.

James  Reiss' most recent book is Riff on Six: New and Selected Poems. His novel, Façade for a Penny Arcade, is forthcoming in 2008.