Blue Bonnet Review

A Literary Journal Featuring Poetry, Fiction and Nonfiction by Talented Writers Around the Globe

A literary journal featuring poetry, fiction and nonfiction by writers around the globe. 

We Are Detroit

Lee Chilcote

After ‘The Window’ by David Masters


It isn’t as hard as you’d think
to live in the ruins of America.
Crawl through an open window,
rappel down with a bed sheet.
Explore the grand lobbies,
marble walls and desecrated murals,
arrive in the concourse
by the skylight’s glow.
There, among Doric columns,
build your new home. 


We saw the old train station
with its broken windows
every time we visited Detroit.
Peered right into its guts.


Raised at Eighteen Mile
we napped on the freeways,
lawn chemicals in our milk,
yet we never took root
in Grosse Pointe, Bloomfield Hills.

Crossing Eight Mile, we found
land scraped clean,
Victorians with castle turrets
and peach trees.
The city as big as a country,
little stands of houses.
We stopped
and peeked in the windows.


At a Corktown art opening
where the young people gathered
and spilled light onto the street
I saw “The Window,”
a painting made from parts
of an old house: layers of paint
on top of wood and wallpaper
like a palimpsest.
Then I knew what to do. 


Amy was a stray as well,
her feral look belying perfect teeth.
After a couple glasses of wine
we broke into Michigan Station.
Shimmied through a back window,
climbed to the top –
the city spread out below.


Streets fanned out away
from downtown. Highways
gobbled up the neighborhoods.
Teeth of a street kicked out.
Sagging houses with front porches.
Apartment buildings full of soul.
City gardens growing wild. 
Slows BBQ waiting for tomorrow.   


We climbed back down
into a forest of tall black headlines:
We are Detroit we are Detroit we are Detroit too.
Dawn came up over the rooftops.
We walked past TV crews
into the real story of Detroit,
slipped into a house
and peeled boards from its windows.