Wednesday, October 28, 2015

Manhattan Dawn (1945) by Donald Justice


Manhattan Dawn (1945)

There is a smoke of memory
That curls about these chimneys
And then uncurls; that lifts,
Diaphanous, from sleep

To lead us down some alleyway
Still vaguely riverward;
And so at length disperses
Into the wisps and tatters

That garland fire escapes.
—And we have found ourselves again
Watching, beside a misty platform,
The first trucks idling to unload

(New England's frost still
Unstippling down their sides).
                                                Or turned
To catch blue truant eyes upon us

Through steam that rose up suddenly from a grate . . .
                                                Grinning—
And the grin slid off across the storefronts.
Dawn always seemed to overtake us, though,

Down Hudson somewhere, or Horatio.
—And we have seen it bend
The long stripes of the awnings down
Toward gutters where discarded flowers

Lay washing in the night's small rain—
Hints, glimmerings of a world
Not ours.
              And office towers
Coast among lost stars.


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