Dusk Over Pier A Park, Hoboken

A mother bird nests in the bowed eves;

Her young dead on the ground below.

 

The reddening dusk etched and balanced

Above the palisades—the sky pressed down,

Distanced.

 

The clamor of the city’s rattle

Squeezes tight the pulsing blood:

Heals click, flip-phones clack closed,

The last commuter train bumps to a stop

With the weight of the city inside.

 

A girl and her brother dart ahead, snapping;

Mom and dad stroll close behind, silent.

When she gets older, the girl loses her brother.

She watched the tower fall with him in it

From the same spot they darted ahead, snapping.

 

Two derelict men kneel down,

Lower their faces to a fresh spill

Of water on the floor, rest on their elbows,

And lap the cool water.

Birching the Dust Below

The tingle on my tongue,

From a late summer nectarine:

Glistening, ripe, swollen,

cracked by desert-warmed wisps.

 

From my lips the tiniest

syrup-rich droplet drips,

birching the dust below,

alerting the ants to swarm, feast.

Lost in the Garden

Uncle Ezra sat expressionless in a frayed nylon lawn chair next to his yellowed herb garden. Cigarette butts fell out of the full pie tin ashtray and onto the table as he stubbed out a cigarette.

I sat between Ma and Papa on a shaded bench under the overgrown fig tree. The dew-drying spring morning heat smelled of damp dirt. In my boredom I squirmed side to side, like a wild spirit weighed down by a wet lose-weave blanket.

Uncle Ezra’s coughing fit broke the silence. He gasped to catch his breath, stood up and leaned against the wall with both hands to sturdy himself. I too gasped for air.

“You okay?” Ma asked him.

Uncle Ezra didn’t say anything as he turned to face us. He unbuttoned his shirt and shoved his clenched fists into his pockets and inhaled, deep and deliberate. I too inhaled, deep and deliberate. Our chests barreled and tense with the damp atoms of decomposing fig leaves.