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W 4th St—Wash Sq

By Carys Maloney

Into the clouds over Central Park

Stretch skyscrapers, fantastic and utopian.

Coffee over ice stains the brains

Of dog walkers and tourists alike,

United by cell phones and step counts.


To the jazz backbeat of The Village

Sunshine, the centennial green cafe’s

Smeared windows and bronzed busts.

The backs of chairs twist artful

Into hearts, into knots; the ties

That bind us dragged in by a street cat.

An historic place, and I have my own history.


Cappuccino blazed days sweetened

With melancholia, presided over by

A spirit splitting time down the center line.

Nothing is served to me on a silver plate.

After years of squeezing my skeleton

For private view, chastising my insides

With a yearning yet satiated,

I have filled my guts with the fruition

Of fate. I ate. I ate. Occasionally


the wind lugs in a British accent

and I think this is London all loosened up

(laces undone, sneakers shook off).

what is viewed as having terminated

undergoes a surprising revival; one

unbeknownst to the viewing audience.

Berenice Abbott, Fortieth Street between Sixth and Seventh Avenues, from Salmon Tower, 11 West 42nd Street, Manhattan, 1938.


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