All day the opposite house,
an abandoned police station,
just an opposite house,
is square enough—six floors,
six windows to a floor,
pigeons ganging through
broken windows and cooing
like gangs of children tooting
empty bottles.

Tonight though, I see it shine
in the Azores of my open window.
Its manly, old-fashioned lines
are gorgeously rectilinear.
It’s like some firework to be fired
at the end of the garden party,
some Spanish casa, luminous
with heraldry and murder,
marooned in New York.

A stringy policeman is crooked
In the doorway, one hand on his re-
He counts his bullets like beads.
Two on horseback sidle
the crowd to the curb. A red light
whirls on the roof of an armed car,
plodding slower than a turtle.
Deterrent terror!
Viva la muerte!

This Issue

April 8, 1965