Life on Floor One
Abdul is in the lobby vacuuming the fifty dollar
entrance way carpet. It is what he does.
I hear him just the other side of a prewar door
pretending to separate elements.
He wears the high peak hat the management company
gave him and why not he says.
Before him, Maher was not asked to vacuum, instead
he exuded his nearly silent intelligence
into the lobby, an environmental scientist from Yemen
whose wife, a doctor, was not allowed
to enter the country. I think they are now together
in Mumbai, I don't know, we have lost touch.
These are the things that are done. Done though
nothing praise God is ever completed.
My grandfathers restitched or stitched whatever
you wanted, they knew what you wanted
before you even thought it, even though this only scratches
the depth and breath of the surface let us say amen
and perhaps remember. This is how it is done. Show up,
put one's finger in the dike of every man's entropy.
Hold back the tides until no one remembers. This is how it is done.
Odyssey in the Small
Three men make ready to toss bobbed fishing lines that will pull their bodies up
to the waist in the Hudson even as it grasps from across the way the lowering sun.
Come, they come now from a balance on three feet of sand, too freshly landed
from another wavering shore line to know much of this unnecessary language.
Just so many yards upriver from the born again walls and prickled wires
of Sing Sing, across from the want stones of the Palisades streaked cliffs,
where lies the infinite swim of yesterday's sunny day.
Closer by, every mid-summer tree fails to hide
in the philosophies of uncontrolled vines.
Closer still, memory rides one after another of Apollo's propulsions
as they kiss off from the moon's slim gravity, saying turn away from the dust.
A long sentence of mallards lingers just beyond a cattail scrawl—
next season’s migration asleep inside blood’s passing cloud.
Back here, the body rides a slow metronome, the clicking of today's
packed train. Where face after contoured face brims
with opaque anticipation. Out on the river, another sailboat releases
into what’s left of daylight. Chasing the other fluttering illusions of canvas
to where all those left behind will reappear. Where all those who left will be.
Cry love now, angels. Cry for a moment, unendurable love.
DON POMERANTZ lives in New York City and Peekskill, NY, where he is a retired software developer and educator. His poems have appeared in a wide variety of American and International journals. His poetry collection The Moose of Felicity is forthcoming in late 2019.