New York City

    By the sun, I know the stairs from the street face
    north. I go up, mote rising through slanted light,
    through the door that locks the City outinto the
    darksome hush. I do not disturb the pods, each
    tethered to a different zero point. I go up one flight,

    then two. Here the path turns east then south again
    from the room with blackout curtains, home of the
    old Hasidic fellow who sitswhite beard guarding
    his chestat his table reading scripture in the
    afternoon by candlelight. Past the bath, halfway

    to the cockroaches' kitchen at the end of the hall,
    I stopturn west, insert a key into the lock and open
    the door to my room—window facing North Dakota
    a hundred years ago—single bed in the south and
    east corner, table and chair at the foot. I sit to write

    but lower my head, stretch my arms out, press my
    palms on the cool green formica and listen. In the
    whereaboutsbedspring frenzy thumps and growls
    startlethen succumb to the silence. One hand
    makes its way back, smooths the hair from my face,

    picks up the pen. The other remains on the edge,
    absorbing the petulant reds. We are bound by a mutual
    debt, these hands and I. They are here with me now
    faithful old friends tracing the cyan forms hovering
    in the airpast and future working out the difference.