We leave town on and off
and off and on. The plants
seem hardier for it, as if they too
needed space. The compulsoriness of
our uninterrupted company sucks
the air out of the room, pollutes
their habitat. As if they too sensed
the pulsations of our reluctance.
Five more days pass. In that corner
of the sky, Orion is the constellation
whose pinholes I point out to Jane.
Shadow prances as we walk
over to a darker area of the field
to catch the shooting stars. The sadness
of the turn the poem took takes us
by surprise. We find ourselves
welling up. Verbing. We lose
our grip. Once, to love the city,
you had to hate it every now and
again; disappointment preordained
by expectation of returns. There’s
intermittent eroticism, the erotics
of intermittence, and dead ends.
Andy says he’s gone for good.
Aki and Makiko head back to Japan.
Neighbors leave for the suburbs.
Even Angela, born and bred
in the East Village, wants out.
The skyline discontinues itself at night
but sidewalk furniture doesn’t go unwanted.
We rarely visited the joint down the street—
menu board blank, awning still there.
At the park, a man goes on in disbelief
about a Staten Islander who’s not once
set foot in Central Park. Across the river
we get stuck in traffic on 42nd. A truck
driver keeps his cool, plays a flute
between lights. The wax museum’s
reopened. Minnie takes a breather, mouse
mask dangling from neck, face mask
over nose and mouth. Another
river over, American Dream,
a mammoth new complex,
remains empty in Jersey.