Note to Henry Ford a poem by Joyce Benvenuto

Note to Henry Ford

Henry Ford, I find you in your graveyard
at Joy Road and Greenfield, a small iron fence, a tiny set
of graves, lawn mowed, tall trees–all expected
all night liquor stores, quickie-cash depots, not expected.
On the street, a woman in Muslim head scarf
walks behind her baby stroller.
Down the road, Herman Gardens Housing Project,
gone, our one time all night party spot.

Henry Ford, Detroit has moved to its next cog
on the wheel. Dirty Joes, the up-the-dark-stair photo
studio on Joy and Grand River–gone, though we can
still hold our hot-bod teen photos in our hands.
And in your day–Joy Road was the lover’s lane, fringe
of the city–if you could get your hands on a car.

Henry Ford–this I can tell you, the John F. Ivory Building
still stands, where at dusk, the boys climbed the steel
fire escape, nine stories to the top. The fools threw roof
pieces into the night. The rest stood behind the low wall,
amazed at how the lights met the stars.
Down below, spokes of light wended in every direction–
That’s Grand River.
while low beamed cars moved to and fro in a steady line.

Henry Ford, I stand at your simple, everyman’s
gravestone. You did it, the good and the bad,
our grit city. This one’s for you.

Joyce Benvenuto

from A Grand River: Poems for Michigan
Joyce Benvenuto Poetry ISBN 9781933272320
Copyright: Thunder Bay Press
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