NYC I

Sitting here, outside the stage door, is like sampling the whole world at once—all the languages, all the potentials.

And in the distance the flashing of billboards and electric lit signs—the trash is out for the night, huge piles of black and white and blue bags stuffed and piled waist high down the curb on both sides.

And the song of car breaks and horns; the delivery truck idling across the street; suitcases rolling along the pavement.

And the car radios tune in an out of a million different stations that touch me—all—before flitting off again.

I could have been anyone who’s passed me by but I wasn’t. I’m not.

 

35

lampleaves

There’s a tree on my walk from the garage to my office. A spindly, landscape piece beneath an old-fashioned streetlamp. I noticed her, really, for the first time (three years I’ve made this walk) in her nakedness, all the more stripped and stark and skeletal for the maybe-dozen leaves left clinging to her, some of them tilted up, reaching instead of falling. I stopped. I took a picture. I watched her, a fixed point on the horizon, each morning as I walked to work. The maybe-dozen dwindled from Thanksgiving break until the day before my birthday when, suddenly—why was I surprised?—she was finally, truly, bare. Without even the lone, final leaf on the tip of the highest-reaching branch, the leaf closest to the lamp, the leaf tricked the longest by artificial light to hang on past her time. Stubborn? Bold? A dreamer? A fool? But why moralize a leaf? She was beautiful. When she hung on. When she fell. In the most fundamental, living sense. She and her sisters and her mother insisted I live this season, the unfolding change around us. With them, I remembered. I clung. I dreamed. I let go. I turned another year.