Thank God for the Dead
by Alexander Motyl

Chelsea used to be full of empty parking lots,
hollow spaces, steep canyons, and tall cliffs,
with bloodthirsty Apaches and thin-lipped gunslingers
making mayhem in the wild west side.
They are all gone now—
in the Happy Hunting Ground, I reckon—
replaced by heap-big wigwams
for the working masses, homeless bankers, and
sweet young things who hold their pale-faced fingers
as straight as arrows in slant-eyed nail salons.
The piers have been fenced in,
the cattle have disappeared—
wandered off into the Hudson, I suppose.
Only the Third Cemetery of the Spanish-Portuguese Synagogue
is still alive and kicking on Twenty-First Street.
Thank God for the dead.
They haven’t moved an inch since 1829.

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