There are no meadows here
on 143rd . The bodega, packed with people,
spills like wine onto the street
where a homeless man claims
that he knows where Uptown flowers bloom.
The doors swing wildly open
on the other side of Broadway Mall. The hallways
swarm with children, pink berets, second-hand
dresses. There is a crowd
laughing at nothing
in particular. The policemen have stopped lurking.
They drink fresh squeezed lemonade
from Sister Rosas grocery cart
on the corner. If you peak your head out far enough,
Midtown waves its solid gray warnings.
Down Riverside Drive, giant Labradors,
sleep on white living room floors.
If you listen hard enough, nearly
no sirens fill your apartment. You're sister
is not braiding the hair
of her dime store, faded doll. Your Grandmother
isn't knitting sweaters for your brother,
whose head is perched
on frail arms on
the living room floor.
This is the first night the noodles,
haven't been fried with donated eggs.
You listen to the sound of meat,
sizzle lightly. Your mother's legs,
swipe back and forth, the flesh
hard and tight
around her bones. You imagine her
walking, picturing the hours at Macy's where she
stalks the dress racks at night.
"Alejandro, dinner's ready," someone yells
from the other room. You finger the hole
in your jeans, place your forehead
against the windowpane and wait
for something magnificent to burst
like lemon yellow petals
through the washed slates
of concrete down below.
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