(for my father)
At the hospital room window. You, watching the headlights
On FDR Drive, the way to the co-ops,
The view of Essex, the public bath brimming now with snow, later
With sounds of children, rising from the water—
My voice soon among them. Before any of this,
Blur of helicopter blades overhead, vacant blue.
You decide yes there is a god, on the stretcher, there in Korea.
In any case, you return.
Five years pass. Along the glistening curb,
Piles of wet yellow leaves. It gets colder.
The first daughter born.
Then the second born. Then a decade;
The dark lifting from the beds of the two daughters,
Your wife at the kitchen table, looking at an orange.
At the hospital room window, you see, out past the traffic,
White drifts settling on the frozen water.
Tonight, the East River, the lights of the city,
And the moon, things of beauty.
Starless, bituminous Manhattan—
At this hour, and the stilted oil tanks, blunt shapes
In the shallows, no current to resist, no wind.