the rivers of it, abridged

New York City skyline at night


Fall 2007



Alison Woods

Independence Day

Leaning out of my window to hear, so close,
fireworks, the bat-bat-bat in the warm
summer breeze. Taken by surprise, my heart rose
to the tenor. Alone in my house, satisfied,
I couldn’t see anything but the palest pink
shadows, and as the sky cried, pink tears falling
into black, I began to feel the colors explode,
a velvet canvas, each wink a cosmic spray
for anyone to notice. With din of crowd below my sense
of belonging, of being with others matured equally
with my sense of non-belonging, and display of dagger and dash—
the sky’s hieroglyphics clear—was heavenly.
The trumpeted, choreographed particles
of dust, ash, and each brilliant flash descended,
as we all do, in our own way.

Ever After

Across the rippling of the pond in Central Park
a model boat floats in its own oily shadow,
tilled white wing skimming the water.

Oh this voyage! A lifetime
to ask what love is, the good
questions a fragrance filling the air.

I know there are moments
mired and unreachable,
but then some pleasure, like dawn,

slips out from behind the curtain.


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