An Oral History of the Grand Parkway (or Why I Haven’t Eaten Since Last Summer)

Rebecca Sharp

Places to Be | Kourtni Halsey | Photography

date: june 6 2018 10:46:08
subj: two girls. early twenties.
setting: kitchen in disarray. boxes still packed from move home.

subject 1 begins

“There was a blackberry patch.
Hidden deep in the woods,
Over trampled grass roadways and
Dirt overpasses carved out with spoons
By suburban inmates who still thought
They could tunnel their way out,
          There was a blackberry patch.”

subject 2 interrupts

“The flowers still bloomed then –
white wild dog roses
Twining sensually through the honeysuckle
Trail their fingertips up a tree
Whose branches built our cathedral,
Blackberry juice purpling from our chins
Framing grins that still had teeth,”
   subject 1 speaks
                                                                                                                                                                               over subject 2

“They cleaned the red clay from under our nails
Clear cut our cathedrals
The blackberry patches were gone and we thought
It was our mistake to come back to this place
That could not carry us anymore.”

   subject 1 trails off
             excuses herself
             leaves the room
      subject 2 takes over
“We spent months choking on gravel and exhaust
Looking silence at each other over barren thorns
Wanting to be the first to leave and terrified
Of being left
So we filled our silent lungs with soot
And spent our nights hand in hand on a six lane freeway
Where an overpass and a blackberry patch used to be.”

case notes: current estimates put parkway length at 85 miles
                      2150 acres cleared to date
                      construction is ongoing