On an Island (New York City)

In the last hour of night, I lean into
a book that multiplies its pages.
A settling and a continuum:
bedding down of a sedentary body
and a story of an expanding universe.
For nearly three months I’ve not walked 
out into the evening, my skin un-kissed 
by summering breeze, wafts of ghost 
fragrances of wisteria and gardenia.
                                          A virus has leapt 
into another species, and a plague roams 
the globe, locking down its best predator.
Health: spatial matter and loneliness.
                            I’m not reading the book, 
thumbing its leafing, fanning pages. 
In bed I prefer to be hostile 
and, rather, host my own 
breathing. In the distance, sirens
like a continuous Nina Simone dirge.
                           As water through granite, 
I let myself dream of an archipelago 
where I began, a scattering both
of isolation and attachment.

Originally published in Los Angeles Review (March 2021). Copyright © 2021 by Joseph O. Legaspi. Used with the permission of the poet.