April is National Poetry Month, and with that in mind, here is a poem with a Park View perspective by Kim Roberts, one of our neighbors.
Poem by Kim Roberts
Quebec Place NW, Park View Neighborhood
“See the new Kennedy Homes. Remarkable values for the price. Eight rooms, finished in oak and mahogany. Overlooking prettiest part of Solder’s Home Park.” –Washington Post advertisement, 1917
A two-block strip of road ends with a view
between black iron bars of an expanse
of sculpted green we’re not invited to.
A hundred years exactly have elapsed
since these two-story houses with their porches
leapt in three dimensions from their plans:
solid brick, gas lighting, attic dormers,
ice box, indoor plumbing, a garage
special-built for autos, not for horses.
A streetcar ride away from downtown jobs
but at an open, healthy elevation:
a neighborhood built to defy the odds
of Federal clerks with backbone and ambition.
On summer nights they’d pour in through the gate
(before these houses became air-conditioned),
a blanket staking out each family’s place
on the cooler grasses of the Soldier’s Home
to eat their picnic dinners, stay up late,
then in safekeeping of the distant dome
of the Capitol in fading purple light,
they fell asleep in tousled knots, still clothed,
women in their crinolines and tights,
in corsets. One communal sleep: how brave!
Who would choose that now on summer nights?
The Park Road Gate, in 1955,
was closed off. At some later unknown year,
they topped the iron fences with barbed wire.
Reprinted from The Scientific Method by Kim Roberts (WordTech Editions, 2017), with permission from the author.
Kim Roberts is a long-time resident of the Park View neighborhood, from 1990 to 1997, then again from 2002 to the present. The Scientific Method is her fifth book of poems.