West End Avenue

Leaving your place, I’m always slipping on wet leaves
because rain trails me across the city like hunger
and the leaves snatch my heels on the way to the train.

The puzzle persists: why this predictable hunger?
There are whole blocks of take aways from here to the train
I can get plates of sushi before the 5:40 leaves.

It’s almost a habit, to eat on that train
whose wheels hold the steel despite matted leaves
and swallows the rails to feed its own hunger

that’s something like mine, who enters dripping, then leaves
having tripped over hollow denials of hunger
alert to disaster on the way to the train.

 

After the Virus

On the day the plague lifts her black skirts
and passes over
farm and church, dark concert hall,
firehouse, beach shack, shopping mall
something stirring indeep shifts:
a sideways lurch, half a stumble,
like a sleeper shocked awake
falling from a dreamscape cliff.

On the day we watch her back become
the black horizon line
statesman, pauper, poet wait
for the same stirring thing, a nameless shape
uncoiling in a forgotten place,
pale creeping tendrils hidden still
while the wind chases out the scent of plague
and rattles doorways on their hinges.

On that day, strange things emerge,
like sleepers straining to escape a dream
like pin pricks in the musty loam
a million green and tender cells.

 

Liz Grisaru is a New York State employee, working on renewable energy policy among other things, co-parent of two kids who are emerging into adulthood, a transplanted New Yorker originally from Massachusetts, Liz used to write a lot but then got distracted.