I have been at odds over how to best honor Friday’s opening of Cincinnati’s streetcar line, the Cincinnati Bell Connector. I have been touched by the ghosts of those who rode the last line, conscious that someday, I will tell my children, I rode the line when it returned.
In the past few weeks, I have looked back on my writings, to when I testified before city council on what will forever be known as “the pause”, and found a wealth of words that could have only originated from a deep frustration and also, a profound love.
I discovered photos from the groundbreaking, held in 2012, when I had hustled down the highway to arrive in time to watch the removal of the first cobblestone in front of Memorial Hall.
These past months, I strolled alongside so many streetcars that I hardly noticed them whiz on by.
In all that time, the streetcar had, like the rest of the city, gotten under my skin, and I subconsciously crafted a poem, delivered whole and ready to roll.
The Rebirth of Connection
For months I have followed you
walked unsteady along your furrowed tracks
observed as you have taken your first ride
your wobbly first loop around one block
then the next
like watching my own learn to steer a bike.
I remember how I shuddered
when workers in green gave birth to you
how I railed against anyone
who railed against you.
Early morn, I heard you moan
then slowly I became tone-deaf knowing
that was the noise you were born to make.
At times, I have envied the attention
and the ever-changing hues
showered upon you,
always aware of those who tried to brand you
something you were not.
Now as days glide easily into night
and rays run out of dark bends in the alleys
there is new light.
You have set down a new trail
for the thinkers, the makers, and joiners
proving what once divided
no longer spills into our streets
and runs rough to our river.
Like the surprise of quintuplets
fertilizes the family tree
your five cars will forever
alter a city destined outwards.