to be precise the east side
to be precise midtown to the 90’s — lower not upper
to be precise grey. winter to be exact.
to be precise concrete and pavement and bare branches
to be exact about it park avenue crossing the frost on the hedgerows
the man and the child heading west to central park the 72nd street entrance
or perhaps the 68th — the place where the ww 1 statue is and the path meanders
past the deserted playground. no, not the big one — that’s near 72nd street i keep
on telling you.
be precise. let’s get specific.
cold hands. the man wears gloves. leather. brooks brothers.
the child does not. she has forgotten them. let’s be clear on that.
steam exudes from their throats. like cigarettes the child thinks.
the child looks forward to smoking.
grey sky. clouded over. a helmet of silver. yes.
that’s more like it.
the buildings give way to the park. brown and grey now
shall they walk to the mirror-water where the bleak boats lie?
no, they turn left, walk down past the rows of benches grey
with a touch of green where the nails moulder in the wood.
let’s be clear.
let’s be very clear on this part.
walk down, the pavement penetrating through the child’s shoes.
through the man’s too. he stamps his feet. she almost speaks
a complaint hovers on the edge of the steam-future-cigarette breath.
they walk down on stones on concrete on grey slabs
clearly it’s all gray except for the bare brown branches
there might be a tunnel, but to be specific it’s not clear
whether that is true or the imposition of a different memory
but let’s be clear on one thing — it ends with the seals.
the seals at the deserted Manhattan zoo that plunge into the silver water
come up, climb up on resting slabs. seem at home completely
in the gray cold world. it’s not grey to them — it’s a comfort.
the man watches.
the child watches.
the wet is home to them. the cold an embrace
to be absolutely precise about it —
this outside is their inside, the cold their hot,
winter their season for perfection.
the child remembers this
when the man moulders.