New York City (Without You)
It rains: I buy and hold
my own umbrella, my strides
unchecked. I don’t see
Broadway shows, but miles of art,
Murillo and Velazquez
at the Met; Klimt, Shiele,
Schad, whose sexual
energies make me ache;
Dickinson’s turbid, dreamlike,
canvasses of loss.
I eat on the street, latte with muffin,
skewered meat, while accidentally passing
Aquavit, where you and I once
lunched, the gray gargoyles heralding
a passageway to subterranean riches.
I price a rosewood table with flared legs
you wouldn’t like and wander
through the glitter at Tiffany’s,
pretend to buy you diamonds
like the Christmas earrings you gave me.
From Central Park, Strawberry Fields,
the widow lives a block away
from the gray “Imagine” tile she’d had
commissioned for her John.
and a leathery red anthurium that looks
unreal. Nearby, the Vietnam exhibit
at the Museum of Natural History shows how
one tribe worships their dead. Artists design
the lost’s one favorite possessions in paper,
a robe, a pipe, even a VCR, and then
burn them to send the beloved comfort in heaven.
So I imagine burning your old
motorboat, your Thunderbird convertible,
and my breasts.
Susan Oringel’s poems have appeared in English Journal, Maryland Poetry Review, and Blueline, among others. With Andrew C. Leone, David Unger, and Beatriz Zeller, she co-translated for a book of Latin American Poetry, Messengers of Rain (Groundwood Books). Awards include a fellowship to the Vermont Studio Center and Albany-Schenectady League of Arts Individual Artist Grant.
This poem is not previously published.