Clouds pushed in regular, quilted masses
across the sky: this effect was visible, even in the city.

Men left their women in general, and a keening
rose from the land.

Followed by a long silence, and in certain quarters,
intense study of the tarot.

I began the catalog of mistakes, those of
others first: the crucifixion installation;

the brothel horror video;
the billiards revival; the rehab spas.

My own mistake was to imagine
that the biographical mattered.

Eventually, we would move away
and the buildings would get on with history.

Scattered across the tar,
the broken necklace of beads.

If you try to visit where Da Ponte is buried,
in the cemetery on 2nd Street, you can’t

see over the wall, and you can’t get in the gate.
This is not funny, but neither is it tragic.

The scattered beads Manahatta
did not want and did not keep.

This Issue

March 14, 2002