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Erin Stepowany


Benjamin keeps watch
where freedom rings each morning
a caffeine buzzer

Franklin Square is one of my favorite spots in Syracuse. Every spring the blossoms explode, people walk on the Creekwalk, and prom and bridal parties gather for photos. I always enjoyed taking my students’ work and setting up a grading spot at the branch of Freedom of Espresso located there. My poem captures the square, the coffee shop, and that lovely idea of waking up and blooming. My husband and I had our engagement photos taken in Franklin Square, so it remains a very special location for me.

Echoes of legends
murmurs of up—and—comers
drift over concrete

When I wrote this poem, I have to confess, many different locations in Syracuse came to mind. The immediate connection for me was the Carrier Dome, where so many legends and unknowns have made names for themselves. But what I’m really pleased with, in terms of this piece, is that it can be applied to lots of well-loved spots in the city—the Walton Street bustling in the summer; the Palace Theatre, where my husband and I had one of our first dates listening to Tommy Emmanuel, Loren Barrigar, and Mark Mazengarb; or any other location where people have an opportunity to leave an imprint on the city. It can speak differently to people.


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