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In a New York Summer photo

Two men smoking cigarettes on Bleecker could mean anything
to each other. Today the day wears a gown of clouds
that refuse to vacate their place in the sky, even this late in the afternoon.
I am walking down Broadway and no one knows my name or needs to. Look—
Old friends invent new jokes. Packs of teens buy crystals from mystics.
Other people people-watch. To what extent does sex govern your life?
a friend asked me at a restaurant last night, where we studied the various shades
of salmon and talked anxiously about our fathers’ wives.
But today, downtown, in the copper air, terse and hot from all this good light,
the only sex on my mind is summer’s little anarchy
and the way it seems to orbit my life. A brick unmoors from the street on Mercer.
A champagne bottle in a bar refuses to pop. Lovers quarrel. Desire fades.
Unbearable sun darkens and turns to a shock of rain…
And now I’m passing the apartment of a woman, who, through the window
that separates my world from hers, is singing jazz standards
from a decade she is sure her mother is still alive inside of. Who wouldn’t stop to listen
to the ordinary music of traffic on this ordinary day in June? 
People do notice each other. We linger, we love, we let go.
Our days, adorned with minutes no longer, no different, no less zestful than the rest
form a mesh and glitter over the world. Summer—
Watching lilacs fall like toys from some Harlem balcony.
The way our clothes touch us differently now, and well
maybe we could all stay another month, year, season under the awning
watching a mother wrangle her daughter into a new pair of light-up shoes.
Believe me when I tell you there is mercy here, in this city, I’ve seen it.
We never thought we would make it this far, yet still, here we are, all of us,
fathers, musicians, streetsellers with dogs, all of the people we thought of as brutes, and you…
You should be here. This day has room enough for all of us.
Because even after the sun sets, the streetlights click on and everyone, with others or alone,
finishes a drink, pays the check, and goes, we will never be entirely without each other.
The night spins a silent music that finds everyone on their way home.
And though we’ve done terrible things to each other, sure, we’re different now, and we’re here,
where the streetlamps, advertisements, and club-lights shine
out a permanent light like a beacon from this part of the globe.
It’s a miracle. We do notice each other.
There is more love in this world than we allow ourselves to know.


image: Brecca Smith