New York Scene: May 1958
It is just getting dark as the rain stops.
He walks slow and looks, though he’s late. It’s all
Muted. It’s like a stage. A tender light
In the street, a freshness. He wonders, a
Funeral?: at uncertain intervals,
Up the block, the corner, small, old women
Walk home with soft lamps, holding them with love
Like children before them in the May night.
A few people move down East 10th Street. They
Do not look at these ladies with their lights
Blowing in the rain-wet airs by the stores,
Their ancient hands guarding their ancient flames.
Three boys race out of the YMCA
At the corner, carrying the brief god-
like gear of the runner. Two jackets hunch
Over two kids. There is high, choked laughter.
The third wears a sweater, black as his head
Lit with the wet. They sprint across the street,
And are gone into a tiny candy shop
Half underneath the walk. A dialogue
As the jackets and sweater cross leaves him
One clean phrase, “tomorrow again.” He grins.
He turns, pauses by a store with small tools
Held in half spool boxes in the window,
With beads, clocks, one hand-turned coffee grinder
And way in the back, a wooden Indian.
Now he stops a girl he feels he knows. He
Asks her where he’s going, gives an address.
She teaches him, lifting her arm up, rais-
ing a breast inside her poplin raincoat.
He listens carelessly. He wants to see
The long, full hair that gives form to her scarf
Of a wine and golden colored woolen,
Some turns of it loose about her forehead
Like a child, some lengths of it falling at
Her back as she walks away, having smiled.
From John Logan: The Collected Poems (BOA Editions, 2001) by John Logan. Copyright © 2001 by John Logan Literary Estate, Inc. Used with the permission of the publisher.