Issue 125, Winter 1992
The masts are mostly gone, Walt. Pleasure-sailors
ply the harbor, piloting fiberglass forty-footers
down from the North Shore, one at the wheel,
one to haul sail and sit, staring over the water’s face.
A swimmer, strong and lucky, might make it,
cutting an angle across the current, ebb up, flood down.
Jumpers, too, are rare, these days: a train is more reliable,
that third, electrified rail, half-covered, always visible.
On the river, among the boats, you rode
the ferry low against the water’s breast.
If you mean to stand in the same place today, old man,
it’s moved. I would not find you on the Brooklyn boat,
but browsing over the east-facing rail
of the Staten Island Ferry.
Coming back, you stand in the docking end,
grasp the safety chain, hold the mass
of Wall Street towers in your encompassing gaze.
You know me, standing at a window twenty stories up,
whether I recognize you or not.
Your curiosity seeks me out, its bare and ample limbs embrace me.
There is that between us that lets me know you.