Harlem

Harlem has changed so much.
I remember friends
getting off Metro North commuter rail at 125th street
by mistake
and being told
that they should
get on the next train immediately.
A hulking fearsome figure
Looked out for them then.

Now, Harlem’s grand avenue looks
Much like the Times Square of old.
Character in it’s veins
And energy in it’s working class bones.

St Aloysius is here
And my students are working there
Among the small ones
Of a still mostly
African American community.
They teach them science and math
And play with pre schoolers
and I watch them come alive.

Harlem is alive with much life
And I pray it offers their children
Even more than they hoped for
And that my students are touched
By the students so much
That they look forward to Harlem
Where they can return
To have their hearts
Changed all over again.