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Taking the Sun in a Carpark Beside the East River

by Brian Swann

I lie beside the five old regulars
whose lips are white as Jolson’s; coconut drifts
from the Naugahyde skins. Opposite, a gold lamé hip
pushes out Brooklyn, blocks Queens. Waft
of roach powder. Seaplanes slalom over her thighs,
splash down behind her shadow face. Her legs
are reflected in a pool of last night’s rain; nymph
in a Pompeian garden over which
the 14th St. power station huffs a cotton bole.
The five old men become five old cars. Later,
they reincarnate as five old ladies parked
in one void space. On the Drive the same cars whirl
round and round the island against a backdrop
of the last Trump. At my eye level, grit and glass
glint like heaven’s floor. I raise my head
in time to see a cormorant from another age
still finding graceful sustenance, appearing and
disappearing, in water close to black.


Brian Swann is the author of numerous books of poetry, short fiction, translation, and children’s literature. He is an editor of Chelsea and Amicus and of “The Smithsonian Series of Essays on Native American Literatures.” (1992)

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