The important thing is that I made it outta there
relatively unscathed when a bike riding the wrong
way down Clinton Street carrying someone’s
pizza swerved to miss me and the girl
in the heavy coat causing the gypsy cab to first swing wide
skimming the Nova who’d suddenly decided to park
but then gypsy gunned it to make the light and slammed on
the brakes when he saw girl heavy coat my eyes’ fire
in his headlights. The Latin men on the corner
watched to see who would go down first. Me.
I lay down in the crosswalk and cried.
I want to take back everything I ever said and replace
it with words that don’t mean. That picture of my dad
and me shoulda been the picture I took of a flooded
subway station last summer, when you were just a creek
whittling your way into the canyon of me. Not
the one, certainly not the only, more like passing
sideshows in life’s circus of where there’s never
a main attraction. Now, if I were her, I’d boot
your ringmaster-ass out the door so fast,
you’d wonder who loved you more
or if anyone ever did.
I’m not her, I’m not you, I’m the trapeze girl
swimming air in a blues-spangled costume. You don’t know
me naked: the light was never shed. A candle is
not enough to see poems stripteased and my
flipped hips blurred are not my preferred likeness.
So you can take your Jersey-lined circus
and get the fuck outta Dodge,
because I quit this job and wash distraction
in an unflooded avenue — Manhattan Island.