117 Hall Street Back Forward


At twilight the BQE hushed & you
lean to say I can see you, short
well-dressed people (in my dreams) sometimes
wandering the grocery for eggs,
finding meadow larks
with soft yellow breasts. And with this
my own utter
fascination with birds will continue, &
so will you, I can taste you.
Even now in my low seat surrounded
by the one, the other; my experience of another
leaves me with words
and questions. Even now
though my attention to faces has shifted
like a house slowly moving
like a breeze, slowly cooling
like a French word placed here & there
like I am looking for that quiet,
repeated. I can feel it like cursive
raised on paper; scratched
like a diamond in repair. You've aged
like a wooly skein of yarn, unraveled.
All your secrets get lost in our dialogue
conversations, or sleep. Are you eating? &
are you sleeping?
I speculate the season is shifting—
I smell it in dinners cooked on my street.
Brooklyn needs you to hang
low in our windows.
A white circle of light against grey; children
care for mothers who've aged.
Has your shadow crept toward the dawn—
intangible, unyielding? When in sunlight
& mid-morning traffic
I am carried by your faint glow;
your constant appearance
at three o'clock bolded
by a swift-moving sky.
I've seen this same morning before,
in every first corner
of a room, I can recognize
breath likened in my wake.
And of these boroughs,
I will tell you the days
are quick faced, my own decade is growing
there is ache here in breathing.
On a Manhattan morning I am reading
O'Hara aloud and the birds are sick
of my voice. This is not
the hour for seeking to seek.
I need this poem and punctuation,
I know you are tired
but the world is moving even if people
cannot. I will push a pause, draw a comma;
pull forward like the second hand dragging
the minute right along. But we can
only see time, you & I,
for sleep I left soundly. I knew
you fondly, but
now space becomes you
through window and street glow.
I lie open in your embrace.
I felt you furthered by
the difference in people—
by every tongue's claim to a life all its own.
We wander in new time, sometimes
on a wordless drive wrapped
around two hills dividing
the shape of my hometown.
Stop and go or stop,
continue. My own trouble
with breathing is the inhale these days;
air is scarce here on this third floor—
on this whisperless night when you call
yourself blue light, just the shape of some trees
waving. Their patterns lack.
In the pane I see my own lack, it follows
your shadowed path. Is it light?
But on this timeless rotation (of the analog clock)
unplugged, it is the end
of a long day working
toward an answer. With no
strength in wording, there is nothing
more I long to be.
This November exhausted
every sound & still the hour passes.
Look here, I've marked myself: be.
& even with my new, winged arm
my name stays a constant.
You are new and I am best a body
hovering, completed. Far from familiar.
A calendar turned face down.