Fog fell like fabric from the top shelf,
remainders of fleece and gabardine
fitted for the ground and buildings.
The late night’s darkness cracked,
a gray and white batik, so nothing
could be seen beyond the middle of the street.
Under the sheets, streetlights ghosted
the avenues, railings shaved off at the top step,
where all passed into primordial memory,
a prenatal comfort so dense even mother
couldn’t fabricate its warmth and promise:
this could be anywhere and I could be anyone.
I’d like to write my name in invisible ink
all over New York City, so if a truck
carrying lemon juice crashed,
my name would illuminate the scene
with a secret meaning, though not the name
you say into the steam of your morning coffee
but the one the nurse whispered in my ear
the morning I was born and never spoke again.
I’d like to train a seagull to follow me,
gorge on the waste jettisoned by living,
lighten the load and let the prow of the ship
bob and slice the waves it plows
trailing a clean wake for those who follow.
I’d like to gather the light
pooled in every drop of spindrift,
like the juice of ripe fruits, a bright
tumbling bowl of it set out on a table,
an offering of warmth, a welcome
that will one day reach your sky,
blaze an invitation to drink its gravity in,
align the minor orbits of your blood
and every random comet, to the song
solar winds make as they blow through your hair.
Our neighbor stretched over the fence
to snatch an apple from our tree.
A stray cat stalked a squirrel,
his tail hair combing the brick
as he passed the mulch bed.
The astilbe flowered under the wings
of a monarch, just as he hovered,
sniffing nectar from nearby blossoms.
The invasions are constant and
arrive cloaked in the shuffling leaves
or aching wood, the loose gate
grating its hinges in a draft.
There was a tap at the window,
but no one there. Others came
to the door but never knocked.
When they left, there was a sense
that something was forgotten,
like a memory from childhood
. . . a knowledge of a way back
. . . a country where all strangers are welcome.