I ran across this poem by Gerald Costanzo the other day and it made me long for the Pacific Northwest. I grew up just outside of Portland, but my dad lived there and we would often go to Washington Park. We walked the train tracks between the park and the zoo, jumping out to scare the train goers. We would read the names and dates of all the Queens of Rosaria. In 2011, I took my family and we spent an afternoon in the park. I realized again how beautiful it is.
I went walking in the Rose Gardens.
It was about to rain, but the roses
were beginning to bloom. The Olympiads,
some Shreveports, and the Royal
Sunsets. This was in the beautiful
city I had taken away from myself
years before, and now I was giving it back.
I walked over the Rosaria tiles
and found Queen Joan of 1945. I sat
on the hillside overlooking the reservoir
and studied the Willamette and the Douglas
firs. I learned the traffic
and the new highrises as the rain
This leaving and returning,
years of anger and forgiveness,
the attempts to forgive one’s self—
it’s everybody’s story,
and I was sitting there
filling up again with the part of it
that was mine.
—Gerald Costanzo, from Nobody Lives on Arthur Godfrey Boulevard, Rochester NY: BOA Editions, Ltd., 1992. [chapter 9]