“Our house, now silent, embarrassed, a piece of plywood, like a bandage, / Covering its wound.”

The Gadfly invites your creative work in whatever medium

Tony Hanna is the Executive Director of the Redevelopment Authority of the City of Bethlehem. Before assuming that role in 2010, he was the Director of Community and Economic Development for the City of Bethlehem, a position he held for 11 years. Prior to that he was the Executive Director of Historic Bethlehem Partnership for 4 years, from 1995 to 1999. More importantly, almost 50 years ago as a young Engineering student at Lehigh University, he was fortunate enough to take two non-engineering elective courses in American Literature. His professor, a young member of the English Department, Ed Gallagher.


Robbed, we are now statistics, a police report number, lucky

No one was hurt. We are told they’re only things, some money, not much

We don’t keep cash in the house, except for my Etruscan money pot. Filled

Bloated, actually, ready to be emptied for our upcoming vacation, smashed

Like our vacation plans. The quarters, dimes, and nickels used to buy drugs

Or maybe food or clothing, I would feel better, but I won’t count on it. Drugs.

Our jewelry, each piece with a story, each a piece of our lives, a connection to

A friend, a family member, an event, a trip, a memory, our memories, stolen

And our house, violated, the front door, that said welcome, be our guest

Smashed, penetrated, like rapists they entered and crawled through the hole

And stole pieces of our souls, pieces of our memories, and

Our innocence, our feeling that this can’t happen to us. But it does and

It hurts and it stings and Pat, sitting silently, trying to remember what we’re

Missing, and when she does, she cries and she says, “I can’t live here anymore.”

They have taken more than things, they have taken our home, the only home

We’ve ever owned. Year after year, no problems, no regrets, no incidents

Sure, there was the time that I didn’t lock my car door and my briefcase was

Stolen. Kids, the police said, and the briefcase was recovered in a field. Kids,

Looking for a wallet, some money, not interested in boring files or magazines

About planning or development in Philadelphia or New York. This kind of thing

Only happens there, right? Philadelphia or New York? Not in West Allentown.

Maybe downtown, but not here. Why here, why us, why our house?

Our house, now silent, embarrassed, a piece of plywood, like a bandage,

Covering its wound. No answers, no suspects, just memories and the loss

The loss of faith, of innocence, of our home.


3 thoughts on ““Our house, now silent, embarrassed, a piece of plywood, like a bandage, / Covering its wound.”

  1. The way he wrote this, I’d say that Tony has done his former literature professor proud.

  2. Tony,

    Our hearts, thoughts and prayers are with you and Pat. God bless both of you during this difficult time. We love you both so very much.


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