The forecast said "showers,"
not "rain," the kind of weather
where an umbrella is just
one more thing to carry. I
pondered this at an 11th story window
of an office building at 5th Avenue
and 14th Street at 1 pm, when the streets
were lunchtime-busy and umbrella-full.
On the train, a man selling newspapers:
"Post, Daily News, twenty-five cents,
the New York Times is fifty." A woman
hands him a quarter. "Talk to me," he says.
It's evening now and it's drizzling
in Carroll Gardens, on the statues of
the Virgin Mary. There is a low noise,
repeating, like a foghorn on a bay,
but there is only the Gowanus Canal.
Visiting you used to mean
the L train to Bedford Avenue
but now you've moved and I
take the F train and that's fine
by me because it still means the
transfer at 14th Street, the long
passageway, the guy who plays
loud Beatles songs on his guitar
(usually "Eight Days a Week").
On good days, I walk past Joseph,
who draws with colored pencils
on pieces of cardboard boxes.
His pictures are usually of
extra-terrestrials: a UFO crashing
into an elevated train platform,
one donkey standing transfixed in
a beam of yellow light, below a
flying saucer that hovers in a red sky.
There are the small graces
of a Sunday: the spray of
juice from an orange and
the blueness of the sky.
Open windows and quiet
streets below. And sometimes
the smell of clean laundry,
warm towels just-folded.
Or sweeping the stairs:
broom-bristles working into
corners, dust-bunnies flying,
soda-can tabs, rubber bands,
a small bead (green plastic):
the detritus of a week of
all of us living this life.