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Hell’s Kitchen

April 30, 2008

At the backside of Columbus Center,
which previously was only a Circle,
I kill time—
having walked twenty-six blocks up Ninth—
in a café, not a bar.
The movements are the same.

The center’s twin towers rise
in perfect parallel
like a key from the future. The two frame,
between them, an equally shaped bolt
of severe blue; together the three
look like the optical illusion
in which a fork’s tines appear variously
to be four or three.

I am unfamiliar
with this part of the city,
save for the day, nearly
a year ago now, when I went
to inspect an outpatient rehab
with a soon-to-be sponsee,
and coming here

assaults me and my balance,
a head-rush when one stands
up too quickly, or how in Abu Dhabi
the city spread out before me
like a dusty Oriental rug:
I can only ever know a corner
of anything.
And what if everything
is similar?

Only a corner of Carolyn,
ever a sliver of Serena.
Perhaps within my own self under
thick opaque ice
warm seas I’ll never see
slosh and wash, submerged,
unknown underwater peaks
of my blinkered consciousness.

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