Count the seasons like leaves
and they begin to fall. Meanwhile
summer issues bank-loans of green
and heat cooks cherries in the street-side carts
as urine out of subway grates
ferments into the streets, seeking open air
the way the moneyed seek the coast.
I can’t say anymore
what promises waves repeat
the bright container ships stapled to shore, what answers
to give the glassed gods of ambition and commerce
on Madison Avenue. I await illumination
like a sudden spike in my spiritual stock price
the way a clear day waits
for rain—clouds lowering, coils of taxicabs
lining the streets, their tire-treads
turning reminders of all
I haven’t accomplished, each traffic-jam
a portent of the ways I might stray.
So each morning your opposite wakes
to what you’ve left behind, and the museum windows
make kaleidoscopes ofpassers-by, blending skin and sky,
asking if you’re sane? Let rain
fall now like a cliché in a poem,
soaking pedestrians and mingling
the metal ions on the hull
this speaker’s trapped beneath. Open the windows that latch
the only minutes of his life
and let him see for a moment
the city not as panorama of self
but a stranger story
where the same particulars are playing:
bellies of leaves breathing,
the way the saplings pray to the cement;
pores in the pavement yawning toward the moment
as all sound in the city
calm and lucid, packed into the eye of the storm–
or is it the eye of the world–
lifts and falls away.

Jeremy Bass
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