fill city underfoot, you’re not much
to launch from. strata of debris
lay and lie into
a bright gold coast: steel and brick and
still just blinking
into life. up is spindles, down
the wreck of centuries,
a clot of weight upon the floor
beneath the floor.
island inmates: fire vines,
a kissing list for bees whose balm
puffs wide as shrapnel.
child-feet land to anchor ducklings' down.
sweat sparkles on the arms
of the au pairs du jour. wet petals
carry spells in creases
read by ants.
the hawk i saw
hasn’t come back. sated on koi
and street meat strung with fur.
sick of the weak flesh
the rest of our pale males
pump legs toward the last ferry.
(they push off hard. they won’t
even the flowers
can’t put down roots:
paid hands pry them up
at the first nodding bloom.
the alchemy that made this land
can’t hold. in brooklyn
there's a tree
who rucked up earth
like saucy skirts.
mama’s coming back
for her own, the bones of ships and fish
that once slid into her,
the sand she made
bespoke to fit her briny curves.
even the papers, those stragglers, say it’s time
the hourglass sifts out from underneath
this crisp-cut stage you’ve
prospered on, stacked on a map
of hollow things, pipes
hissing ghosts, tunnels that spit
patched-up rolling stock, pathfinding through
the silt and rot you play
the floodgates whisper rumors,
not in ifs, but whens.
for the bees: no more. she’ll drown
the rest. your foe
creeps up from under while
you man the castle walls. her naked arms
are strong. she’ll drown your book,
your whole enchanted
Amanda Glassman is the librarian and archivist at Poets House, as well as a contributing editor at The Operating System, diner chronicler, photographer, and writer. She has work forthcoming in Pink Plastic House a tiny journal. You can find her on Twitter and Instagram @aglasswoman.