Sketch of a Poem

Written in ten minutes. Inspired by For Poulenc, by Frank O’Hara.

My first day in Queens:

Man, I was laboring.

Hauling my suitcase up subway steps at 46th Street

Everything I owned inside

Everything I knew behind,

Left in Manhattan.

My luggage skidded on the uneven sidewalks

I trudged along, hoping I was headed in the right direction.

I came upon an elementary school

(To this day I don’t know its name)

And its enormous playground caught me off guard.

You mean there’s space out here?

And I started to really see the houses

And I saw the people unlocking their doors

And I recognized the resignation in their contentment.

Somehow the street started seeming like the edges of Chicago

I could see my nephews playing on that swingset

And I thought, okay —

Maybe this could be home.

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