Julie Danho

In Waterplace Park on Our 15th Anniversary
April 24, 2024 Danho Julie

In Waterplace Park on Our 15th Anniversary
            Providence, Rhode Island


I’m waiting for you on the bank of the river,
where the downtown buildings tier above me
like a jagged glass cake, not at all like the one


at our wedding, with the ornately frosted top
we slipped out of the freezer a week later. I don’t
even remember putting it on a plate, just forks


and cardboard, our mouths bursting with flowers.
That was when you’d first moved here, and now
this is the longest you’ve lived anywhere. Strange


you never knew our city in the years it was
abandoned: the only grocery store left hollow
as the old mills, the last hotel’s gold-leafed lights


gone cold. I wouldn’t have brought you
to that Providence. But then they broke it open,
digging up the train tracks that cut the city in two,


rerouting the dead-end beltway, demolishing miles
of streets to reveal the Woonasquatucket
covered for more than a century. How many times


had I stood over this place without realizing what
flowed beneath? Tonight, to make New England
feel more Venetian, the city’s hired gondoliers


to stand on the backs of their slim-hipped boats
and glide tourists down river, under this footbridge
where a chandelier illuminates the cobblestones,


and I can see, even with the sun down, how
the water almost matches this green-gray railing,
its paint worn off the top from years of touching.

Julie Danho is the author of Those Who Keep Arriving, which won the 2018 Gerald Cable Book Award (Silverfish Review Press, 2020). Her poems have appeared in journals such as New Ohio Review, Pleiades, and Bennington Review and have also been featured on The Writer’s Almanac, Poetry Daily, and Verse Daily. Her chapbook, Six Portraits, won the 2013 Slapering Hol Press Chapbook Competition. You can find more of her work at juliedanho.com.