Published: November 19, 2009


I see you among the statues

and the train stations in Rutherford.

I see your briefcase, your physician’s hand.

I see the streets you worked on. The hills

that rise and fall over New York City,

where my mother grew up, and my father,

my uncle, past the swamps and the steel grids,

past your grave that grows purple

forget me nots when I sit in the summer

in the dirt talking to ghosts.


My parents used to walk those hills

in their Sunday shoes,

dreaming of your cherry trees,

Mr. Williams.

I dream about your glasses, tooth, and hand.

A dream about the poem,

pocket of the universe.


I dream about those streets, the search

of all the seasons for your beaming breast

and lab coat. The convoluted

curving highway there, the coat rack

in your practice, or the fleshy tone

of cheekbones, a calendar full of house calls

beside the sofa or a house plant.


I remember about the pheasant coops,

about the railroad tracks, and cats. Think of hills

and fever beds, of chicken soup and birds,

the promise of buds in springtime

in Paterson and Newark.


Think of the house on the corner

on Kingsland Avenue, the people

that covered their lawn in Christmas lights

and waterfalls and reindeer

‘til they died a few years ago.

I dream of them, you know?

I’d fall asleep in the backseat of the car

among the coats and presents,

outside as their trains lit up.


It was Thanksgiving then, and Christmas,

or a balmy summer’s vision

atop that impossible hill.

There was the magnetic dark at night.

The warmth of the mind working

a magic thundershower of clouds

over Jersey’s metal fields.

The electrifying clamor

of such spontaneous grace.