streetcar blues

the streetcar opened six years ago,
and everyone breathed a sigh of relief.
for a year or more the city streets
had been littered with a maze of orange traffic cones
that shifted unpredictably from week to week
(or so it seemed) as one road was rutted up,
rails laid, scars smoothed, then it all began
again the next mile down the line,
from the train station down to the riverfront.
we held our breath with skepticism, wondering
whether it would all be worth the cost.
restaurants lost business. traffic snarled. tempers flared.
then finally it was done, declared open,
and everybody cheered—
for all the caution cones were cleared away.
at least, for a while.
on a sunny summer evening’s carefree drive
i found myself ensnarled in what the germans call a schtau,
all of us suddenly uncertain where we were going
as the lanes narrowed into oblivion,
bounded by those smug orange sentinels.
it seems the streetcar, successful, is expanding.