The town beneath the town,
the flattened record of what happens
up there. As a tabletop remembers
what is placed on it, the finish vanishing
under heat, or circles appearing
where glasses lingered, the undertown
holds the underside of decisions,
to put a building here and then to rip it up,
to plant a bigger building there.
This stippling indicates plows and barns,
horsehooves, and this compressed
valley means a bulldozer, a road, cars.
The undertown feels no emotional
attachment to being trampled or dabbed at.
All movements carry consequences
on their backs. And if not that scar, then
it would be this one. The undertown
absorbs whatever we give it,
does not require any recognition or praise
in keeping track of us for us.