the city comes at night offering itself
in the abstract, the way you might have imagined
New York for a musical comedy star: a fixture moon,
a corner uptown where dreams stay and radiate.
It is almost night. She turns a corner,
swings her cape, and what remains in the air
is not choreography, but flight, the cape’s black wing
vanishing against gravity.
A background drops. She inhabits her body again
and listens to the riveters, the shadow whip
unwinding night, winding her woman’s body
in the silk clothes of the assassin.
Somewhere, in a garden of jade, sits Buddha.
He is neither holy nor just
but has been carved from stone in a world
which has invented holiness and justice.
His old, motionless dance
she finds most fitting; where, in her mind,
in the folded abstraction of the lotus,
a gesture holds a single radiance.
But like an obsession, a series of dancesteps
done over and over to the wrong rhythm,
she insists on it
the surprise backhand motion of thought
evading itself: refusing finally to dance,
to mime the night or the names drawn
on the wallpaper of stone. So she walks alone.
So the riveters of shadow begin again
like the fist pounding the news
into newsprint to deliver
folded in abstraction,
the new day.