From "Summing Up"

Riding the Abyss

Strident little wheels
in the street below screech
past my window, kids poised

on skateboards holding on
to nothing not even each
other. If they had been

living somewhere else first
a place as dense
as thought, unborn

no bones, no flesh to conceal
one human from another, it
would be a shock swoop-

ing into those baby bodies
almost like breaking in.
What would childhood be

then but exile, a doubtful
haven, an African preserve
where some endangered species

still roam free. Fleeing
through Washington Square Park
to South Street Seaport like wind

on water they skim over asphalt
waves unwilling to land
as if the earth

would suck them whole
into the grave
of matter. Sad-eyed and dazed

they sail out in convoys
a last attempt at salvaging
a single rusty coin

of hope lost
in the common wreckage
ignoring the harsh cry

of cops, balking
at school at jobs
that would give them form

force them ashore to die
into the steel
and seductive

scaffolding of this
or any other concrete city
that names itself home.

Our children.





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