On Hudson Street


Across the street, across schools of yellow taxis swimming upstream,

              across our common moorings of pink toenail palaces

                             and bagmen curled into their inmost snail chambers,

                                            a boy opens his window

                                                        as I open mine. The city seeps in.

Whatever I've done today and whoever I've been—in an alley,

             a flowerpot, or a bar draped with black flags—

                           and whatever he's down to or plans to be up to,

                                         all is diminishing fast . . . to memory or oblivion,

                                                       in a trembling white leaf.


Mild nod to brief wave, the eyes of fourth floor north

            meet the eyes of fourth floor south.

                          Morning's shadows that leaned my way

                                         are now evening's that lean his.

And I see he's wearing the little red cap that makes him an elf

            or a bishop. In it he is spared the pigeon histrionics

                        and the child-of-spring snow quarreling

                                       with a prepubescent rain.


Say goodnight, kiddo, as I do. What crimes

                we shall sleep through, what storms and

                                stultifying passions. After long voyages

                through great stillnesses, may the hull of us

split cleanly open and drop us into shallow soil.


Places I've Been

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