New York, 1933


In those days slouching one after another
into the moments of late dusk —
the view from the year’s late deco heights,
looking to the North and to the South,
how many alleyways, corners,
squares and parks sparkled quietly like fireflies.
There were those men so close to the barrels
collecting warmth off the mating calls
flickering hard even in the foreshortening days
with their dreams not of love
but a lessening of absence flying off
as sparks pretending a moment of flight.

Upstate, in an Adirondack forest buried
in noonday light, horses approach an overgrown meadow
where like brides, clover awaits.

Half a day later, because half the world away
in the forest outside Niimi, Okayama
it has been eighty odd years. Fireflies, countless as cities
of men and women light the ferns and chronicle of decay
in their carpet of light- beatitude someone forgot
to chronicle. Shroud below the canopied heights.

Out past the forest’s hearing on an uphill climb
wounded by erosion, horses stagger briefly
as the stones beneath their hooves skitter downhill.