At the brim of summer, the Harlem River trembles.
Wind sweeps the treeline into glint.
Meanwhile, an emergency vehicle rockets past,
then the ice cream van dragging its raggedy song up the block.
Didn’t we all know joy once,
and then longing like a subway car rattling after?
With the years, you will come to love this world,
a poem pasted on the L-train began this morning,
but by then it all felt wrong,
a woman with her head in her hands, all of us stranded
and bowed to her weeping.
Now you can hear jazz floating like a bright scarf
from your neighbor’s apartment. As for the dozens
newly entered into Virgil’s memory of time,
let there be a well-worn path beside the river
flowing in both directions at once and forever,
where the dead stroll and talk, or fall comfortably silent,
no longer prescient of passage
or how it begins—
a crowd shouting at the bartender for another round,
as others, having called it a night,
walk home under the dazzling exhaust of stars.